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Wifine Biologist to the tjowrnment of Ceylon awl Inspector of Pbo.fl Banks. 



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Marint Biologist to the Government of Ceylon and Inspector of Pearl Banks. 






Preface (v) 

I. Historical survey of the Pearl fisheries off the Madura Coast — 

(a) Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , . . 1 

(4) Under Portuguese control, 1524 — 165S .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. 3 

(c) Under the Dutch, 1658— 1796 ... .. 12 

{d) Under the British 19 

(e) Tabulation of the localities and the financial results of all Indian fisheries from 1663 — 1900 ... ... 22 

II. The Topography of the Banks- 
Proposed scheme for the simplified classification of the known hanks . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 

III. Notes upon the derivation and signification of the names of the Oyster banks .. .. .. .. 29 

IV. Narrative of the examination of the Banks made in May 1904 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33 

Y. Natural Characterixties of the principal banks, with comparisons (historical, topographical and faunistie) 

with one another and with typical Ceylon Banks to determine the relative importance of each . , . . 49 

VI. Conclusions and recommendations — 

A. Conclusions — 

(a) Imperfect methods of inspection . . . . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . . 64 

(i) Short supply of divers attending the fisheries ; reasons and remedies .. .. .. .. 66 

(c) The Banks of greatest potential value .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 69 

(d) Bate of Pearl production and oanses of premature death . . . . . . . , . . . . 70 

(e) Character of supervision required in the future .. .. .., .. .. .. .. 72 

B. Becommendations — 

(a) Improvements in the system of inspection — 

(1) Preparation of reliable charts .. .. .. .. .. ., .. .. ., 74 

(2) Adoption of detailed " Cirele-in6pection '' .. .. .. .. .. .. .. it. 

(3) Purchase or charter of an inspection depot-ship ., .. .. .. .. ,. .. 76 

(4) Beacons to be charted and improved .. .. .. .. .. .. ,. .. it. 

(5) Improvements in recording the details of inspection results .. .. .. .. .. it. 

(b) Regulations relating to the capture of fish on the Pearl banka .. ,. ,. .. .. 78 

(c) Determination of the direction of surface drift at different seasons .. .. .. .. .. 79 

(<Z) Culture of the banks — 

(1) & (2) Transplantation of young oysters and the concurrent eultching of the hanks , . . . id. 

(3) Cleaning of the banks by means of the dredge . . . . . . . . . . . , . . 80 

(4) Thinning out of overcrowded oysters .. .. .. .. ,. .. .. .. U. 

(e) Creation of a fisheries department , . . , . . , . . . , , , . . . . . a. 


Apjendix A. — A contemporary official account of the condition of the Indian Pearl BankB in 1663 . . . . 85 

,, B. — Detailed financial statement of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery of 1694 .. ,. .. ., .. 87 

,, C. — Governor Bumpf's instructions defining the respective rights of the Company and the native 

Princes of Madura and Bamnad, 1722 .. .. ., .. .. .. .. .. gg 

D. — Despatch written in 1744 by the Dutch Governor of Ceylon on the advantages of leasing out 

the Pearl Fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 

E. — Summary of inspection results from 1885— 1903 .. .. .. .. .. .. ., ., 93 


Nob. I & II. - Sketch plans (charts A & B) of the Central Pearl Bank region showing graphically the groups 
which I propose to form by the linking together of adjacent and related pars. 

Nos. Ill k IV. — Similar sketch plans (charts C & D) showing the manner in which I propose the Pearl Bank 
region should be examined by means of " Cirole-inspection." 

No. V. — Specimen of a coxswain's inspection diagram, blank. 

No. VI. — Specimen of the same filled up at the end of a day's work. 

No VII. — One of the Inspector's master-diagrams filled up by combining the four diagrams furnished by 
the inspection coxswains. 

No. VIII.— Skeleton diagram showing the sub-division of a large bank (Cheval Par, Ceylon) into culture 

No. IX. — Sketch plan showing how the skeleton plan No. VIII Bhould he filled in after inspection has 
been completed, the distribution of oysters of different generations being indicated by distinc- 
tive colouring. 


The accompanying report upon the present condition and future prospects of the 
Pearl Banks off the Coast of Madura and Tinnevelly is the outcome of a request for 
the loan of my services made by the Government of Madras to that of Ceylon in the 
Spring of 1904. 

I appreciate most highly the honour thus done me and I have endeavoured to 
the utmost of my ability to discharge satisfactorily the duty laid upon me. The 
working up of the material, however, proved unexpectedly tedious and arduous ; the 
volume of the material to be digested was very much greater than I had anticipated ; 
wide historical enquiries had to be instituted and all this to be carried on concurrently 
with the exacting duties of my first year in office as Inspector of Pearl Banks and 
Marine Biologist to the Government of Ceylon. Critics will therefore, I trust, deal 
gently with the many shortcomings which I am conscious mar the present report ; 
they will kindly bear in mind that it has been built up largely in fragments of time 
snatched from an all too scanty leisure. I should like indeed to devote further study 
to the enquiry, but under present circumstances, 1 see no prospect of the necessary 
time-opportunity. I reluctantly decide that it is better to send in the report as it 
stands than to postpone its issue indefinitely. 

Possibly I have striven to do more than was expected from me, but having put 
my hand to the work I could not refrain from the attempt to review the position in all 
its bearings. However many shortcomings pertain to this effort I have cleared some 
stumbling blocks from the way and have indicated the lines on which success may be 
attained eventually by the workers who will follow me. 

My aim has been to sift the whole of the evidence available, historical, zoological 
and physiographical ; to present the conclusions in a simple and succinct form and to 
formulate remedial measures on a practical and business-like basis. 

It has not been found necessary to treat herein of the anatomy and habits of the 
pearl oyster as such are dealt with fully by Professor Herdman and myself in the 
" Beport on the Pearl Oyster Fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar," recently published 
by the Boyal Society. 

My grateful acknowledgements are made to my predecessors in this investigation ; 
my work has been immensely facilitated by the extensive data recorded and ably 
presented in Mr. H. Sullivan Thomas' " Beport on Pearl Fisheries " published by the 
Madras Government in 1884, and in the valuable reports made from time to time by 
Dr. E. Thurston in the Bulletins of the Madras Museum. It has always appeared to 
me a thousand pities that Dr. Thurston's abilities have not been utilized to a much 
greater extent than they have been in Pearl Fishery investigation, seeing how highly 
qualified he has proved himself for the task. 

I am also pleased to have this opportunity to thank Captain Carlyon, the Port 
officer of Tuticorin and Superintendent of Pearl Banks, and Don Gabriel de Cruz 
Lazarus Motha Yas, the Jati Talaivan of the Parawas, for their courtesy and help 
during the actual work of inspection in May 1904. The Jati Talaivan, indeed, spared 
no pains to put me in possession of all the historical and traditional information 
of which he is the depositary owing to the close connection which has existed for 
centuries between his forefathers and the Pearl Fishery organization ; such has 
been of great value to me. 

The Peart, Banks, Ceylon, 

28th March 1905. JAMES HORNELL. 





The well-known lack of the historical faculty among the peoples of India prior 
to the advent of Muhamma danism involves us in all but utter ignorance of the exact 
localities, course, and conduct of the pearl fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar, as well on 
the Ceylon as on the Indian side, until the date when European control began. 

Anterior to the Portuguese seizure of the fisheries in 1524,f the glimpses we catch 
are hazy and unsatisfactory — glimpses recorded on their return home by sailors and 
travelling merchants belonging to other countries. Greeks, Egyptians, Barbarv 
Moors, Arabs, Venetians and Genoese have all referred incidentally to these fisherie's 
as among the notable sights seen during their journeyings, whereas Tamil and Singha- 
lese writers had uo thoughts save for the glory and exploits of their kings and the 
advancement and excellence of their religious systems. The latter refer to pearls 
solely to utilise the idea of their beauty and the mystery of their origin for the pur- 
poses of their exuberant and florid imagery and in the exaggerated descriptions of the 
riches of their kings and temples. 

YVben the pearl fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar were first exploited we have no 
hint ; even two thousand years ago they were celebrated throughout the known world 
from China to the Mediterranean. In Rome, in the days of Pliny, pearls from the 
Gulf of Mannar were valued at a high price and Pliny refers to this fishery as the 
most productive of pearls of all parts of the world, while more than six centuries before 
(550 —510 B.C.), Wijaya, the Aryan Conqueror of Ceylon, is said to have included rich 
offerings of pearls among the presents to his father-in-law, the Pandyan King of 
Madura. X 

The earliest definite reference to a particular locality in the Gulf of Mannar 
where a fishery was carried on, occurs in the " Periplus of the Erythraean Sea ", 
written about the end of the first century A. D. by an Alexandrian Greek. In a 
description of the ports on the Indian Coast, he writes — 

" Fpon leaving § Ela-bakara or the Ruddy Mountain, the country which succeeds 
"is under the Government of Pandian ; it is called Paralia (Puralij and lies almost 
" directly north and south ; it reaches to Kolkhi in the vicinity of the pearl fishery. 
''• But the first port after leaving the Ruddy Mountain is Balita and next to that is 
" Komar which has a port and a harbour .... From Komar the district extends 
' : to Kolkhi and the pearl fishery which is conducted by slaves or criminals condemned 
" to the service, and the whole southern point of the continent is part of Pandyan's 
' : dominion. The first place that succeeds after leaving Kolkhi is the Bay Argulus 
" connected with a district inland (of the same name). Here and here only the pearls 
" obtained in the fishery at the island of Epidorus || are perforated and prepared for the 
" market and from the same island are procured the fine muslins sprinkled with 
11 pearls." 

* The term " Mad ora Coast " is employed in these pages, unless it be specified otherwise, in its wider and more 
ancient sense ; it signifies here the sea hoard of the ancient Kingdom of Madura, and therefore includes the share of the 
modern district of Tinneveily as well as that of the Madura district. 

t Gaspar Correa, " Lendas da India ' ', Tolume II. 

* Vide the " Mahawansa." 

« Vaikkarai in theOoehin district. 
Most probably this is the island of Mannar, formerly the head-quarters of the Ceylon Pearl fishery. 

Ptolemy ['who died in 133 A.D.) adds further interesting references, mentioning 
in his description of the provinces, towns, and rivers of the East Coast — 

" Country of the Karcoi ; in the Kolkkic gulf, where there is the pearl fishery} 
" Sosikourai and Kolkhoi, an emporium at the mouth of the river Solon." 

So unchanging are names and peoples in this district that at the present day tlie 
majority of these names can he readily recognised — in itself also a tribute to the accuracy 
of the two Graeco-Egyptian geographers of lbOO years a<jo. Koinar is obviously 
Kumari anglicised into Comorin : the Karcoi are the caste of Karaiyar or coast pcopk — 
fishermen and boatmen — of whom the Parathavar or Para was are a branch or section, 
described in the Tamil poem " Maturaik-kanchi" (LL. 110 — 111) * as men who dived 
for pearls or for conch shells and knew the charm to keep off sharks from that part of 
the sea where they dived. 

The town of Sosikourai has, I notice, not been identified by any writers with any 
now-existing place name, but I have little doubt it represents Tuticorin — the present 
principal town on the coast. The Tamil S is commonly corrupted into Ch, as Sippi 
into Chippi, and then Chochikourai would readily pass into Totikourai and Tutieourai 
from which Tuticorin, the present rendering of the nume of this town, is readily 

Of Kolkhi, identified by the Groeco-Egyptian writers as the head- quarters of the 
pearl fishery, no name trace remains, even in that) of a decadent village. The locali- 
sation is however rendered easy by reference to the Tamil poems of the period in 
question. In them is frequent mention of the great city of Korkai. Thus the 
" Maturaik-kauchi " describes it as the chief town in the country of the Parathavar 
and the seat of the pearl fishery, with a population consisting chiefly of pearl-divers 
and chank- cutters. The great epic " Chilappatikaram " (XXVII. 127) further records 
that on account of the importance of the revenue derived from the pearl fishery, 
Korkai was a sub-capital of the Pandyan Kingdom, and the usual residence of the 
heir-apparent. In its prime it boasted great magnificence, adorned with temples and 
palaces befitting its wealth and importance. It was situated at the mouth of the 
river Tambraparni f a river draining the present district of Tinnevelly and carrying 
down to the sea immense quantities of sand. 

The harbour of Korkai gradually silted up, and deltaic accumulation eventually 
cut off ready access to the sea. In consequence the old city gradually decayed and the 
population drifted to the new mouth of the river where a daughter town sprang into 
being at the expense of the parent. Exactly when this occurred I cannot make out. 
Mediaeval travellers make no mention of Korkai or Kolkhi : the head-quarters of the 
Indian Pearl fishery still remained located at the mouth of the Tambraparni, but its 
name was altered to Chayl, Cail, or Kayl, wherein we recognize the Kayal of to-day. 

Marco Polo in the thirteenth century speaks of Cail as a great and noble city ; 
Ludovico de Vathema mentions that he saw pearls fished for in the sea near the town 
of Chayl in about A.D. 1500, while Barbosa, who travelled about the same time, sajs 
that the people of Chayl are jewellers who trade in pearls. 

To-day Kayal is a miserable village some miles inland and situated four or five 
miles northward of Pinnacoil, a Parawa town on an island in the present embouchure 
of the Tambraparni. The old name still clings, and the ruined remains of what must 
have been the great buildings of a noble city are within gunshot — the old Kayal and 
possibly the Korkhi of classic geographers and the Korkai of the ancient Tamil epics. 

Kanakasabhai in his " Tamils of 1800 years ago "J appears to think Kayal and 
Korkai were separate cities, saying, "The site of this town (Korkai) which stood on 

* Probably written about the same time as the " Periplus ". 

t This name Tambraparni in its Romano-Greek form of Taprobane was also the accepted cognomen of the island of 
Ceylon among the Romans of the empire. Variations in the manner of spelling are many — Tambrapurni, Tamraparni 
Tambiapanni, Vamrapanni and others. 

Much ingenuity has been displayed (and wasted) in seeking plausible derivations. AlHhose quoted in Tennent's 
" Ceylon " seem to be purely fanciful ; I do not think we need go beyond the terms Tambiram, copper, and Varnam, or 
Farnam, colour, words in common u6e among Tamils, in seeking for the meaning of the name. 

No feature strikes the stranger on ariival in Colombo more forcibly than the copper-red hue of the roads and soil : 
" Copper-coloured Isle " is a most appropriate descriptive term to apply to Ceylon and equally so is the " Copper-coloured 
water " to the Tinnevelly river in question, when in flood it becomes turbid with the red mud it carries seawards. 
% Madias, 1904. 

the sea coast is now about five miles inland. After the sea had retired from Korkai, 
a new emporium arose on the coast. This was Kayal .... which in turn 
became in time too far from the sea md Kayal was also abandoned." 

The accuracy of this statemen I have no means of judging, except that none of 
the people of the Tambraparni district whom I have met have any knowledge of the 
ruins of Korkai, whereas they al enow those of Kayal, and we have ample evidence 
that the abandonment of KayaJ and the creation of the new ports and daughter towns 
of Kayalpattanani and Pinnacoil, or more properly Pinnekayal, by the Moor and 
Tarawa inhabitants respectively of Kayal took place in early Portuguese times as will 
be noted further on. 

Yvhen the Portuguese rounded Cape Camorin they found the pearl fisheries of 
the Gulf of Mannar in the hands of the caste of shore-dwelling people, fishermen and 
divers, already alluded to as Parawas whom tradition shows to have had control of 
this industry from time immemorial. Of the origin of these people we know extremely 
little. We know, however, that in the old days, from 600 B. C. and for 1,500 years 
or more thereafter, the country now comprehended in the districts of Madura and 
Tinnevellv, formed the great Tamil Kingdom of Pandya, and in the old Tamil work 
called the : ' Kaheddu^ the position of the pearl-fishing caste to this monarchy is 
incidentally mentioned in the following extract : — 

" Yidanarayanen Cheddi and the Paravu men who fished pearls by paying 
u tribute to Alliyarasani, daughter of Pandya, King of Madura, who went on a voyage, 
" experienced bad weather in the sea, and were driven to the shores of Lanka, where 
" they founded Karainerkai (Karativo) and Kutiraimalai. Yidanarayanen Cheddi had 
" the treasures of his ship stored there by the Parawas, and established pearl fisheries 
" at Kadalihilapam (Chilavaturai) and Kallachihilapam (Chilaw) and introduced the 
" trees which change iron into gold ", etc., etc. (Herdman, " Report on the pearl oyster 
" fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar", volume I, page 2). 

In the " Maturaik-kanchi " they are described as being most powerful in the 
country round Korkai, " well-fed on fish and flesh and armed with bows, their hordes 
terrified their enemies by their dashing valour.* " It is very probable that they were 
of Xaga origin and of the same race as the inhabitants of Ceylon at the time of the 
YVijayan conquest of that island. 

When the Pandyan kingdom was powerful the Parawas had grants of certain 
rights from the monarchy, paying tribute from the produce of the fisheries and receiv- 
ing protection and immunity from taxation in return. The fishery in these early days 
appears to have been extremely prosperous — thus in A.D. 1330 Friar Jordanus, who 
visited India at this time, tells us that as many as 8,000 boats were employed in the 
pearl fisheries of Tinnevelly and Ceylon f . 

The organization of the fisheries was also well ordered even prior to the advent 
of Europeans, as we learn from the following extract written by the Nawab of the 
Carnatic in 1771 to the Governor-General of Batavia, namely — 

" In the time of the King of Madura, Terniel Nadu Raja and the second king 
'• Minaatje Ringeja Dalway, in the year 1470 it was decided that in January all things 
" connected with the fishery should be arranged and that the same arrangement should 
" hold good so long as the kingdom remained under the Carnatic. % " 

The conditions under which the Parawas lived and the far-reaching changes 
which at this period — the opening of the 16th century — were beginning to be felt owing 
to the weakening of the paramount power of Yijayanagar are graphically set forth in 
a report, dated 19th December 1669, written by Yan Reede and Laurens Pyl, respec- 
tively Commandant of the Coast of Malabar and Canara and Senior Merchant and 
Chief of the sea-ports of Madura, in justification of their action in undertaking 
war with the Nayak or King of Madura. This report addressed to Van Goens, 
the Governor of Ceylon and Dutch-India, contains the following exposition of the 

• Kanakaeahhai, loc. cit., page 44. 

t Thurston, E. " Pearl and Chank Fisheries ; " Mad , 1894, p. 9. 

t At this period the kingdom had lost its independence and was tributary to the great Hindu state of Vijayanagar, 
which comprised the region known as the Carnatic. 

condition of the Parawas prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, and the manner in 
which the Portuguese obtained possession of the fisheries and subsequently carried 
them on : — 

" Under the protection of those Rajas there lived a people, which had come to 
" these parts from other countries * — they are called Parruas — they lived a sea- 
" faring life, gaining their bread by fishing, and by diving for pearls ; they had 
" purchased from the petty Rajas small streaks of the shore, along which they settled 
" and built villages, and they divided themselves as their numbers progressively 
" increased. 

" In these purchased lands they lived under the rule of their own headmen, 
" paying to the Rajas only an annual present, free from all other taxes which bore 
" upon the natives so heavily, looked upon as strangers, exempt from tribute or 
" subjection to the Rajas, having a chief of their own election, whose descendants are 
" still called Kings of the Parruas, and who drew a revenue from the whole people 
" which in process of time has spread itself from Quilon to Bengal. Their importance 
" and power have not been reduced by this dispersion, for they are seen at every 
" pearl fishery (on which occasions the Parruas assemble together), surpassing in 
" distinction, dignity and outward honours, all other persons there, and still bearing 
" their own appellation. 

" The pearl fishery was the principal resource and expedient from which the 
"Parruas obtained a livelihood, but as from their residence so near the sea, they had 
" no manner of disposing of their pearls, they made an agreement with the Rajas that a 
" market day should be proclaimed throughout their dominions, when merchants might 
" securely come from all parts of India, and at which the divers and sutlers neces- 
" sary to furnish provisions for the multitude might also meet, and as this assemblage 
" would consist of two different races, namely, the Parruas and subjects o r the Rajas, 
" as well as strangers and travellers, two kinds of guards and tribunals were to be 
" established to prevent all disputes and quarrels arising during this open market, 
" every man being subject to his own judge, and his case being decided by him ; all 
" payments were then also divided among the headmen of the Parruas, who were the 
" owners of that fishery, and who hence became rich and powerful ; they had weapons 
" and soldiers of their own, with which they were able to defend themselves against 
" the violence of the Rajas or their subjects. 

" The Moors who had spread themselves over India, and principally along the 
" coasts of Madura, were strengthened by the natives professing Mahomedanism and 
" by the Arabs, Saracens, and the privateers of the Sammoryn f, and they began also 
" to take to pearl-diving as an occupation, but being led away by ill-feeling and hope 
" of gain, they often attempted to outreach the Parruas, some of whom even they 
" gained to their party and to their religion, by which means they obtained so much 
"importance, that the Rajas joined themselves to the Moors, anticipating great 
" advantages from the trade which they carried on and from their power at sea ; and 
" thus the Parruas were oppressed, although they frequently rose against their adver- 
u saries, but they always got the worst of it, until at last in a pearl fishery at 
" Tutucoryn, having purposely raised a dispute, they fell upon the Moors, and killed 
" some thousands of them, burnt their vesseLs, and remained masters of the country, 
" though much in fear that the Moors, joined by the pirates of Calicut, would rise 
" against them in revenge. 

" The Portuguese arrived about this time with one ship at Tutucoryn ; the 
"Parruas requested them for assistance, and obtained a promise of it, on conditions 
" that they should become Christians ; this they generally agreed to, and having sent 
" Commissioners with some of the Portuguese to Goa, they were received under the 
" protection of that nation, and their Commissioners returned with priests, and a 
" naval force conveying troops, on which all the Parruas of the seven ports were 
" baptized, accepted as subjects of the King of Portugal, and they dwindled thus from 
"having their own chiefs and their own laws into subordination to priests aud 

* This is most improbable ; they are more probably the descendants of Naga fishermen settled in the district 
prior to the immigration of Tamil invaders. 

t The Zamorin of Caliout, a powerful sea-chief of this period, hut himself belonging to the Hindu religion. 

"Portuguese, who however settled the rights and privileges of the Parruas so firmly, 
" that the Bajas no longer dared interfere with them, or attempt to impede or abridge 
" their prerogative ; on the contrary they were compelled to admit of separate laws 
"for the Parruas from those which bound their own subjects. The Portuguese kept 
" for themselves the command at sea, the pearl fisheries, the sovereignty over the 
•' Parruas, their villages and harbours, whilst the Naick of Madura, who was a subject 
" of the King of the Carnatic, made himself master at this time of the lands about 
'• Madura, and in a short time afterwards of all the lower countries from Cape Comoryn 
" to Tanjore, expelling and rooting out all the princes and land proprietors, who were 
'• living and reigning there ; but on obtaining the sovereignty of all these countries, 
" he wished to subject the Parruas to his authority, in which attempt he was opposed 
" by the Portuguese, who often, not being powerful enough effectually to resist, left 
" the land with the priests and Parruas and went to the islands of Mannar and Jaffna- 
" patam, from whence they sent coasting vessels along the Madura shores, and caused 
" so much disquiet, that the revenue was ruined, trade circumscribed and almost 
" annihilated, for which reasons the Naick himself was obliged to solicit the Portu- 
'• guese to come back again. 

"The Political Government of India, perceiving the great benefit of the pearl 
"fishery, appointed in the name of the King of Portugal military chiefs and captains 
<: to superintend it, leaving the churches and their administration to the priests. 
" Those captains obtained from the fisheries each time a profit of 6,000 rixdollars for 
" the King, leaving the remainder of the income from them for the Parruas ; but seeing 
" they could not retain their superiority in that manner over the people, which was 
" becoming rich, luxurious, drunken, with prosperity, and with the help of the priests, 
;- who protected them, threatening the captains, which often occasioned great dis- 
,: orders, the latter determined to build a fort for the King at Tutueoryn, which was 
" the chief place of all the villages ; but the priests who feared by this to lose much 
' ; of their consequence as well as of their revenue insisted that if such a measure was 
" proceeded with, they would all be ruined, on which account they urged on the 
" people to commit irregularities ; and made the Parruas fear that the step was a preli- 
" minary one to the making all of them slaves ; and they therefore raised such 
" hindrances to the work that it never could be completed. 

" We have considered it worth while to prefix to our narrative this notice of old 
" times, because it may throw some light on the present difficulties, and afford also a 
" clear proof of the right which the Honourable Company at present claims over the 
" Christian natives and all that relates to them. 

" The Netherlands East India Company began about the year 1644, when it 
" had obtained possession of some places on Ceylon, to carry on trade and commerce 
M with the countries of Madura, and made a treaty for that purpose with the above- 
" mentioned Naick, stipulating, 

" ' That the Honourable Company might trade in his territories with security 
" and freedom, to which end a dwelling or lodge at Cailpatnam was allowed them, as 
,! may be seen by the treaty or contract in possession of the Company'— and on this word 
''■ and faith of the Naick their trade began, and their goods, merchandize and servants 
'■' were confidently left in protection of their ally — but where there is no firm ground 
" of integrity, treachery and faithlessness find easy entry. 

" This the Company soon experienced, for it was not long ere this evil-minded 
" and wicked people, deceived by appearances, and induced by hope of rapine and 
" profit, forgot their faith and promises, suffering themselves to be seduced by a sum 
" of money to demolish the Company's lodge, seize its goods, and murder its servants ; 
•'■ in which last attempt however they failed by the unexpected appearance of a ship 
" in which the men took refuge and thus wonderfully escaped. This dastard villanj-, 
" detestable in any prince or chieftain, the Portuguese had contrived, and effected by 
" means of the Parruas and the Naick's servants who thought the neighbourhood of 
" the Company injurious to their interests. And although in the year 1649, a signal 
" vengeance fell as well upon Tritchenadoor as Tutueoryn, yet the people, and their 
" master, the Naick and his Government remained equally base, taking every oppor- 
'•' tunitv to exercise oppression. Even the Portuguese whom they had assisted to do 
" harm to the Company began soon to perceive that the renters and chiefs of the 



"lowlands wronged the Parruas on all sides and diminished the right of the Torti!- 
" guese, but at that time they had no means of preventing it, as the Dutch Company 
<c was increasing in strength and were taking possession of their towns, forts and ships, 
" and became daily more powerful, which caused them to bear much fioni the Naick 
" with forbearance. 

(< Matters stood thus in the hands of the Naick of Madura * till 1658, when 
" the town of Tutucoryn was taken by force of arms from the Portuguese and Parruas, 
"by which success the Company succeeded to their rights over the coast, as well as to 
"their authority over the sea-ports, the Christians, the pearl fisheries, and all there- 
into appertaining ; in fact to all that the Pa ,v ruas first had, and the priests and 
" Portuguese afterwards possessed." 

Of the prosperity and conduct of the fisheries under the Portuguese we know 
nothing with exactitude — even the dates of the important fisheries are lost through the 
disappearance of the official records. 

Fortunately many of the Portuguese soldiers of fortune have left memoirs of their 
lives in the east, and several furnish interesting accounts of the conduct and manage- 
ment of the fisheries at this time. The two most important are those left by Gaspar 
Correa and by Juan Ribeyro ; the former dealing with the condition of the fishery at 
the beginning of the Portuguese connection, the latter with an account of it in the 
years when his nation was being dislodged foot by foot and fort by fort from Ceylon 
and India by the Dutch. Both are worthy of being better known and therefore it will 
be better to give the extracts in full. 

Gaspar Correa's account f tells us that in the year 1523 the King of Portugal 
commissioned Manuel de Frias to make inquiries in India regarding the tomb of the 
apostle Thomas, and it proceeds thus : — " And he commanded that with him should go 
"Joao Froles, who had takjn part in the affairs in Ceylon when Lopo Soares went 
" there, and who had been appointed by the King captain and factor of the pearl fishery 
" which is carried on by the natives of the country between Ceylon and the Cape of 
" Comoryn ; in former times the Moors of that coast had possession of this pearl 
" fishery, for which they paid a large rent to the lords of the land, wherefore the 
" Governors had a good right thereto, since they were rulers of the sea. Therefore 
" now Joao Froles having come thus commissioned that he might take possession of 
" and receive for the King this fishery, so that the Governor might not suffer loss by 
" not being able to receive it for himself, he did not give Joao Froles the fleet and 
•' men that the King had commanded, and in order to get from it whatever he could 
" gain he ordered Manuel de Frias to go to the fishery, and to rent it for whatever 
" the lords of the land would give, and this in order-that he might find out what it 
" would yield, and having accomplished this that he should proceed to the coast of 
" Choromandel as captain and factor." 

A little further on we read : — ■"Manuel de Frias, captain and factor of Choromandel, 
" in accordance with the orders of the Governor, which he carried with him, placed 
" Joao Froles over the fishery which he rented out to the digares,% of the country for 
" one thousand five hundred cruzados per annum, and left there as factor Joao Froles, 

* Dravida, the country of the Tamils, was divided in the earliest days of which we have record and prior to the 
Christian era, between three dynasties, the Pandyans, the Cheras, and the Cholas. The Pandyan kingdom, denying its 
name from that of the founder of the first dynasty, comprised under normal conditions little more than the present 
districts of Madura and Tinnevclly, the city of Madura heing the capital during the greater part of the continuance of the 
kingdom, whii'h suffered the usual vicissitudes of Indian states, sometimes preponderating arid more frequently, in later 
times, tributary to a neighbouring state, but always maintaining in Madura some semblance of sovereign authority. 

After the fall of the powerful Bilal Rajas, at the beginning of the fourteenth oentury"(A.D. 1310) ,a great Hindu state, 
that of Vijayanagar, took shape in the centre of the Deecan. The Raja of this state became about the middle of the four- 
teenth century the overlord of the states of Southern India including the Pandyan country, and the Princes of Madura 
remained tributary till about the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in the Gulf of Mannar. 

The reigning dynasty at that time was that of the Nayaks, and while the Portuguese were busy making settlement 6 
on the coast, the Nayak was making himself master of all the lower oountries from Cape Comorin to Tanjore, " expelling 
and rooting out all the princes and land proprietors " who were living and reigning there. 

The battle of Talikota in 1565, in whioh the last Raja of Vijayanagar^fell before a great combination of Muhammadan 
states, gave the Nayak complete independence, which his family retained till 1736 when the last of this house fell befoie 
the power of the Nawah of the Carnatie, the ally of the British. 

f " Lendas da India." 

% Eridently Adigars are meant. At the present day the principal headman of the pearl fishery district in Oey] .n 
(Musali) is officially known by this title of Adigar. It is this officer who is charged with the details incident to the 
wection of the Sihery camp prior to each fishery. 

'• with his clerk, in a large boat well armed ; and in order that the factor might not be 
" able to steal any of the money from the rent of the fishery, he took other measures, 
" obtaining from the fishers themselves the pearls, whereby he committed many 
" robberies, as is done nowadays ; for the ills of India are not improving, but are 
" increasing continually, as I shall recount further in speaking of the end that this 
<( Joao Froles came to at this fishery, in which he paid for a portion of the evils that 
" he had committed." 

An interval of over three years then elapses before we again hear of the pearl 
fishery, Lopo Yaz de Sampayo being then Governor in India. We read that in 
January 152 S : — 

" Manuel da Gama wa3 appointed by the King as captain of the coast of Coro- 
" mandel, and Joao Froles as captain and factor of the pearl fishery. This act of 
" friendship towards Manuel da Gama was managed by Hector ])a Silveira before he 
" departed ; and the Governor gave him a ship and four foists well fitted and armed, 
" as he had had tidings that paraos of Calicut were going along the coast of Paleacate 
" committing great robberies, and had seized a ship that had come from Malacca very 
-' richly laden, with eight Portuguese whom they put to death. To this Manuel da 
" Gama retaliated so well, that he cleared the coast of the robbers, and managed to get 
" back on land all the goods from the ship which the robbers had sold, and many male 
" and female slaves of the Portuguese whom they had killed on board the ship ; 
" which robbers went over to Ceylon with much booty, and joined the others who had 
''• gone from Calicut, and went about robbing as much as they liked by sea and land. 
" The Governor sent to Joao Froles as captain and factor of the fishery, in a caravel 
' : and a large boat and three foists, with which he went about collecting the rent of 
" the fishery, as I have already said. This being known to the robbers, who went 
'■' about strongly armed with artillery and men, twenty of them came in a body to 
" attack Joao Froles as Manuel da Gama had gone to the other coast and could not help 
" him and they came upon Joao Froles who was in the caravel, with the large boat, 
" the foists having gone to another place ; and as they were moored and the wind was 
" calm, twelve of the paraos made for the caravel, dividing into six on each side, and 
" the other eight likewise divided to attack the large boat. Joao Froles, seeing the 
" paraos preparing for the attack, made ready as well as he could with twenty Portu- 
£; guese men that he had, and threw a rope to the large boat, so that the two lay stern 
'•' to stern. Six Portuguese men went into the large boat: the caravel had a camello 
" and two falcons and six bercos,* and the large boat, two falcons and six bercos, but 
'• there were only a few men as several had gone to the foists that Joao Froles had 
" sent to the coast of Ceylon as prizes. Our men having thus got ready, the paraos 
" divided into two attacking parties, ten approaching from each side avoiding the shots 
' : from the camello, and shifting as they pleased, all the while discharging from 
u roqueras * iron balls of the size of quinces, and firing as they liked they gave the 
" caravel and large boat so many shots, that they cut their shrouds and caused them 
" to fall with the yards, at which they set up loud shouts. Neither Joao Froles nor 
" the master of the caravel had thought of putting belts under the yards, which if they 
" had done the yard would not have fallen. At this the Moors considered themselves 
" victors, as the Portuguese were already killed or wounded, for only the falcons and 
" bercos were now of any use to our men, and they did not fire them so often as did 
" the Moors,-and our men were continually becoming less able to fire ; wherefore the 
•'• Moors knowing the weakness of our men came in a body with their arms, and their 
'• shouts and war charges, and boarded the vessel, and killed as many as they found 
" alive, without sparing any one, and carried off all that they found, and took the 
" falcons and bercos and ammunition, and set fire to the vessels so that they went down, 
" and then returned to Ceylon. Our foists, hearing the news of the burning of those 
" vessels, fled to where Manuel da Gama was staying." 

The description of the conduct of the fishery under the Portuguese by Juan 
Ribeyro in his " History of Ceylon," dated 1685, is the only detailed account handed 
down to us.f 

* Different kinds of cannon. 

t From the Er.g.ioh translation from the Fr.eneh version of the Ahb? Le Grand, Ceylon, 1847. 


It runs as follows : — 

" Having now related, all that we know of the natural riehes of the land of 
" Ceylon, we shall describe those which its sea produces. The pearls which arc procured 
" from the coasts of the island, and more especially from Aripo, are of the highest value. 
" As few persons know how that fishery is conducted, we shall here relate what we 
'•'• know of it. 

" At the beginning of March there assemble on that coast 4,000 or 5,000 boats 
"got together and paid by Moorish or Heathen merchants and by some Christians.* 
c; These merchants have many partnerships among themselves, and they first make up 
" a fund to arm four, five or six boats, more or less, according as the entire adventure 
" is greater or smaller. Each of these boats has generally from ten to twelve sailors, 
" one master and eight or nine divers. All the boats go out together, and seek where 
" the fishery is likely to be most profitable : and they anchor at the spots where the 
" sea is only five, six or at most seven fathoms deep. Then they send off three boats 
" to a league distant round about, each in a different direction ; each of these boats 
" brings back a thousand oysters. These are opened in presence of the merchants and 
" the pearls found in them are examined by the whole party and their value estimated, 
" as the pearls are much finer in some years than in others; and accordingly as the 
" merchants find the pearls to be large, clear, round and of good water, they bargain 
" with the King for the fishery of that year. When the bargain is made the King 
" usually gives them four vessels of war to defend them from the Malabar and other 
"pirates. Then each merchant goes to the sea-side and constructs a sort of enclosure 
" with stake and thorns, only leaving a narrow passage for the boats to enter and go 
" out again, which come there to discharge the oysters they have fished up. 

" On the 11th of March, at four in the morning, the officer in command of the 
" four vessels of war fires a gun as a signal, and immediately all the boats put off to 
" sea, steering for the place which they have selected to fish at and casting anchor 
"there. Each of these boats has on board stones of the weight of 60 lb. each, 
" fastened with strong ropes, of which one end is attached to the boat. The diver 
" places his foot on one of the stones, and passes another rope round his body, to which 
" is tied a basket or a small woven bag like a net ; this second rope is held by two of the 
" sailors, and the diver thus secured descends into the sea ; he remains there whilst 
" two credos can be said, and fills his little bag or basket with oysters which he 
" sometimes finds in heaps on the rocks ; as soon as his basket is full, he makes a sign 
" by pulling the rope held by the sailors in the boat, and one end of which is round his 
" waist, and they draw him quickly out of the water ; but if in the time he is below, 
" he can contrive to open an oyster and finds a pearl in it, it is considered his own ; f 
" as soon as his head is above water another diver goes down, and thus they descend 
" by turns. This fishery lasts till four in the afternoon, when the officer in command 
" fires another gun as a signal to cease the fishery for the day. Then all the boats go 
" to their several enclosures, and the noise and confusion that ensue in the two hours 
" that are allowed to discharge and pile up the oysters cannot be described. 

" Besides the people belonging to the boats the children of the neighbourhood 
" never fail to assemble at the sea-side, offering their services, rather however to steal 
" the oysters than to assist the sailors or merchants. As soon as the boats are 
" unloaded they put to sea again, and go about half a league higher up by the sea-side, 
" where the merchants assemble and hold a splendid fair ; there are magnificent tents 
" aud all sorts of merchandise of the most valuable kind are to be had there, as vendors 
" come from all parts of the world. Heathens, Jews, Christians and Moors, all have 
" some speculation for profit ; some sell by wholesale, others by retail ; the sailors and 
" children bring the pearls which they have stolen, and people of every kind have 
" bargains to offer. Persons having but a small capital buy small ventures, which 
" they immediately sell to larger merchants with a middling profit ; not only pearls 
' : are bought and sold, but jewellery of every kind, bargold, dollars, fine Turkey 
" carpets, and beautiful stuffs from India. 

* An escort of armed men always accompanies the pearl divers, on account of the Malahars, who come from the coast 
of that name or from the Maldives, and who live by piracy, so that no buat, canoe or prahu is tafein those seas. The 
fishers or divers cease their work at i oon, on account of the swell caused by the wind, and which annoys the divers, who 
can only descend in calm weather. (Note by the French translator.) 

t Uhis is an error in translation and in fact. In translation from the original Portuguese it reads, "the diver as 
soon as he rises to the surface is at liberty, until he who is at the bottom of the sea aeeends, to open with a Inife as many 
oysters as he can and whatever he finds therein is his." 


" The fishery lasts from the 11th of March to the 20th of April,* but the fair 
" itself continues for fifty days, because for the last nine days the enclosures are 
" cleansed, as so many flies are bred by the corrupt matter that the adjacent places and 
" the whole country might be annoyed by them, if care were not taken to sweep into 
" the sea the impurities collected during the fishery. 

" On the last day of April, the merchants of the several partnerships assemble 
" together and share the pearls belonging to their respective boats. They separate 
" them into nine classes, and set on each class a price according as the demand has 
" been greater or less for pearls during the year ; when these prices have been set on 
" them, they make the allotments and shares. Then the ill-formed pearls are sold at a 
" sufficiently moderate price ; the small seed-pearls are left on the sea-side and the 
" country people come in the spring and sift the sand for them and sell them for a 
' : trifle. 

" Hence the pearls and seed are sent to all parts of the world. This is all I know 
" of this fishery. But I must not forget to add that pieces of amber of a considerable 
" size are also found on this coast. Great branches of coral also drift ashore when the 
" sea is high ; the black kind is better and more esteemed than the red." 

In no Portuguese work have I found any indication of the frequency of the recur- 
rence of fisheries under the Portuguese or of the approximate values and localities of 
each, a lack of knowledge greatly to be regretted as it becomes impossible to say with 
certainty whether or not there has been deterioration, progressive or intermittent, in 
the oyster-producing qualities of the beds. The only bint I have come across is a 
chance remark in Eibeyro's " History ", to the effect that the inhabitants of Mannar 
had in his time (circa 1658) become impoverished by the decadence of the pearl fishery 
on the Ceylon coast and its transference to the Tuticorin side, his words being " at 
present the oysters have migrated and are to be found on the coast of Tuticorin." f 

Even prior to the Portuguese we find the uncertainty of the pearl fisheries a 
matter of notoriety for Albyrouni who served under Mahmoud of Ghazni and wrote in 
the eleventh century, says that the pearl fishery which formerly existed in the Gulf 
of Serendib, had become exhausted in his time simultaneously with the appearance of 
a fishery at Sofala, in the country of the Zends, where pearls were unknown before, 
and remarks that hence arose the conjecture that the pearl oyster of Serendib had 
migrated to Sofala J, i.e., to the Persian Gulf. 

Pew other facts of importance are to be gleaned from Portuguese writers. "We 
see however that in fulfilment of the treaty made with the new-comers the Parawas 
became zealous Eoman Catholics. Thus they won the confidence of their masters and 
under the protection of the priesthood enjoyed a comparative tranquillity and immunity 
from extortionate tyranny seldom met with by Indians living within the Portuguese 

St. Francis Xavier did great work among the the Parawas and it was on the 
fishery coast at or about Pinnacoil that he commenced his missionary labours in 1542, 
thereafter visiting Tuticorin and sending priests to Mannar at the earnest solicitation 
of the inhabitants. § 

That the fisheries were then flourishing is betokened by the fine churches and 
great monasteries that rose at the three centres named from the offerings and profits 
of the divers and merchants during the second half of the sixteenth century. 

The Portuguese appear to have kept well in hand the petty Eajas whose territo- 
ries abutted on the fishery coast and to have been able to afford efficient protection to 
the Parawas. They were fortunate in arriving in India at a time when the native 
states were in the crucible of change, when internecine warfare left the chiefs neither 
time nor power to cope efficiently with a more highly organized foe from oversea. Old 

• Old style ? 

t See also Baldaeus' " Description of Malabar and Coromandel," English edition, London 1703, where in volume 3, 
page 792, referring to the condition of affairs in 1658, he Btates that "this island (Mannar) was formerly celebrated for 
the pearl fishery as well as the city of Tutecoryn ; bit no pearls having been taken there for these ten years last paBt, the 
inhabitants are reduced to great poverty ; whereas the sumptuous edifices, churches and monasteries, with their orna- 
ments, are sufficient demonstrations of its former grandeur." 

J Reinaud's " Fragmens Arabes, " page 125, quoted by Tennent in " The Natural History of Ceylon, ' ' page 376. 

| " The History of Ceylon " by Philalethes, London 1817, page 224. 



states were in the melting pot of invasion and insurrection and especially was this 
true of Southern India, where political paralysis began to affect Vijayauagar — begin- 
ning, as is usual, in those provinces furthest from the centre of the state. 

The latest dynasty — the Nayaks — occupying the tributary throne of Madura 
was beginning to assert independence of the central Government from which it became 
entirely free when the battle of Talikota in 1565 completed the destruction of the 
Suzerain Hindu State of Vijayanagar. 

The Parawas as already mentioned although the origiual holders of the 
fishery rights had begun prior to the arrival of the Portuguese to feel the competi- 
tion of the restless Muhammadan settlers on the coast, who, coming as many must 
have done, from the coasts of the Persian Gulf knew already all there was to know of 
pearl fishing. The descendants of these Arabs and their proselytes, known as Moros 
to the Portuguese, are the Moormen or Lubbais of to-day. * Their chief settlement 
was Kayal, a town situated near the mouth of the river Tambrapurni, and which in 
Marco Polo's time (1290-91) was " a great and noble city ". It shared with Tuticorin 
for fully 500 years the honour of being one of the two great pearl markets of the 
coast— the one being the Moor, the other the Parawa head-quarters. 

Hating the Moormen with all the fanatical intolerance which was their curse and 
the chief cause of their eventual ruin the Portuguese took the part of the Parawas. 
Accordingly the Nayak of Madura, Hindu though he was, lent his influence to the 
Moors of Kayal in the hope of eventually being in a position to drive out the 
Portuguese and so obtain control of the coveted pearl fishery. None of the 
Nayaks were ever strong enough to do this and an armed neutrality usually existed, 
the Portuguese even granting certain privileges — practically tributes — to the Nayak's 
Government in return for facilities given to the pearl merchants to travel without 
exactions to the scene of the fishery. 

The chief item in the concession made to the Nayak was the grant of a number 
of free boats in each fishery. A grant engraved upon copper made by Soekalingee 
Teroomalee Nayak in favour of the Modeliar Pilly Marcair, the head of the Moorish 
community, I on founding the town of Kayalpattanam furnishes an interesting light on 
the details of this arrangement. 

It appears that the new town of Kayalpattanam had become a necessity through 
the silting up of the harbour of the mother city of Kayal by sand brought down by 
the river Tambrapurni. 

In recognition of the chief townsman's enterprise in transferring his town to the 
coast and thus conserving to the Nayak a sea-port able to rival the Tuticorin of the 
Portuguese, several gifts were made to the headman, the chief being the grant of ten 
" free " divers' stones at the fishery. In return he was with " seven large boats, 
with 96| stones, at 13| stones to each boat, to fish the pearl banks for the use and 
benefit of the said Government " (of Madura). It is expressly said, " he is to reside 
near the Government House of the Portuguese at the sea-port of Mannar and near 
Marie Amman's chapel at Tuticorin. He shall have the superintendency of the pearl 
fishery and shall receive 60 chacrums per month and shall be favoured with ten 
stones to dive for him at the said two places " (Mannar and Tuticorin). 

The 96^ stones above mentioned represent the allowance conceded by the 
Portuguese to the Nayak in return for the privileges before named. Later we shall 
see that the question of the consideration given in return for this privilege became the 
source of continual disputes between the Dutch and the Nawab of the Carnatic, the 
latter succeeding by conquest to the rights of the Madura Nayaks in the early part of 
the eighteenth century. 

* Moormen is the appellation need in Ceylon, whereas Lubbais or Lebbes is more commonly used on the Indian 
Coast for the same people. 

t Termed " CboliarB " in this grant. In the tenth century the Chola dynasty overthrew the neighbouring sister 
kingdoms of the Cheraand Pundya, and reigned paramount from the vicinity of Madras to Cape Comorin. 

It was doubtless subsequent to this period that the Tamil Muhammadans of South India became known as the 
Choliyn Muhammadans or more commonly Clioliyar or people of the Tamil country called Chola-desam. To this day 
the Hindustani Muhammadan speiks of his southern co-religionist as Choliya ; for, save as to religion the vast majority 
of the Choi ivar are Tamils in point of language, general appearance and social customs — vide Kamanathan "The 
Ethnology of the Moors of Ceylon " in Journal K.A.S. (Ceylon Branch), Volume XIII, page 245. 


Other free stones * were at intervals during the sixteanth century granted out 
of these 96^ privilege stones by the Nayak to various temples from religious motives, 
as in 1542 and 1546. 

Besides the Nayak of Madura, the Portuguese allowed to his tributary the 
Setupati Raja of Ramuad f a further number of free divers (60 stones) in each fishery 
in return for the help he gave in contributing to the success of the fishery and in 
guarding and providing pilots for the passage of the narrow strait called Pamban pass, 
separating the mainland from the Island of fiameswaram. 

This petty sovereign, who is the hereditary guardian of the temple of Eameswaram 
and is the head of the Mara war caste, was commonly known as the Katta Theuver or 
Tuever in the days of the Portuguese and the Dutch. While nominally under the 
Madura monarch, the Setupati was virtually independent and leaned more to the 
foreigners, for his lands being coastal and insular, danger was greater from the sea 
than from the land. His territory included the coast as far south as Kilakarai, the 
great Moor diving centre at the present day, and for that reason his assistance had to 
be courted and purchased by the European lords of the pearl fisheries. 

Like him of Madura, the Ramnad lord granted some of his privilege divers to the 
great Hindu temples of his district, giving seven stones to Kanieswaram pagoda in 
lo09 and three more in 1714. 

Besides the 60 free stones, the Setupati had the right by custom under the 
Portuguese to one day's fishing from all his subjects, as had the Nayak from his. 

Taken generally the fisheries under the Portuguese appear to have been of great 
collective profit during the first half of the period of their rule, a period coincident 
with the height of Portuguese energy and power, when they had no European rivals 
and when they were free to concentrate their forces entirely against the native races. 
After breaking the power of the Arabs, the Portuguese enjoyed all the advantages 
conferred on the nation possessing the mastery of the sea, a consideration of supreme 
importance in connection with such an essentially maritime industry as the pearl 

Encroachments and claims on the part of the Nayak of Madura were then as com- 
mon and as troublesome as those experienced in the eighteenth contury by the Dutch in 
their relations with the Nawab of the Carnatic. The methods adopted by the Portu- 
guese to cope with these infringements of treaty rights and to afford protection to their 
subjects and allies, the Parawa?, appear to have been most radical and effective, consist- 
ing in the removal of all Christian natives from the Madura coast to Mannar and 
to the string of islands skirting the coast from Tuticorinto Pamban with a concurrent 
blockade of the Nayak's seaboard. Nor was the blockade a peaceful one as we learn 
from Van Reede and Laurens Pyl's Memoir of 1669 quoted above. To use their 
words ' ; the Portuguese with their boats pillaged the entire sea- coast, which they 

* By "stones", divers are to be understood, a diving stone being the inde«pensable item in a diver's equipment. 
Faeh stone is, however, usually sh-tred by two divers, so it is probable that the 96J- stones here referred to represented an 
aDowanee of 193 divers. 

t The rulers of Bamnad have hid many titles indicating an ancient and illustrious past. To-day their lands form a 
zemindari and from the date of Talikota (1565) they constituted one of that peculiar class of petty Hindu Sovereigns who 
held their lands tributary to larger States, usually Muhammadan, and to whom belong rightfully the title of zemindar. As 
usually employed now in India as a designation of any large landed proprietor the term is used in an altered and 
corrupt sense. 

The title by which the Caief of Ramnad is now known is that of Baja ; in former days Setupati or Sethupathi and 
Katta Theuver were titles more particularly distinctive and peculiar to these petty rulers. 

The Raja of Bamnad is the hereditary chief of the warrior caste of Marawas, of whom the honorific and generic caste 
name is Thevar or Tevar and from this was derived the title Katta or Catta Theuver or Teuver by which the Dutch refer 
to the Sovereign of Bamnad in all their documents. 

The ICajas of Ramnad have ever been intimately connected with the great Hindu temple of Bameswaram ; they are 
the hereditary guardians of the temple and held possession till 1767 of the narrow channel between Bameswaram and the 
mainland known as Pamban Pass. The remains of a broad and well-built causeway stretoh from the Indian shore 
across the " pass " and onwards from Pamban over the eight miles of sandy ground that remain to be traversed ere 
pilgrims reach the shrine of Bama. Originally the causeway waB continuous from shore to shore, a causeway 
invaluable to the millions of pilgrims resorting to the temple and the source of much importance to the sovereign of the 
district, who possibly derived his most ancient title from this fact — " Setupati " or " Lord of the Causeway" (Sethu or 
Setu, a causeway and Pati, a lord) though as Adam's Bridge, the bank connecting the islands of Bameswarem and 
Mannar, is known specifically as '-the causeway" (-Setu) among Tamils, we may also read the title as signifying " Lord 
of Adam's Bridge ". 

At the height of their power the Setupatis owned much of the low country between Bamnad and Madura, together 
with the island of Bameswarem, and Setupati coins exist dating from this period. The growing power of the Nayaks 
of 11a dura circumscribed their limits in the sixteenth century and thereafter they existed chiefly by the aid afforded by 
an alliance first with the Portuguese and later with the Dutch. 


disquieted so effectually that the renters and overseers (of the Nayak) on account of 
the great loss they suffered in their revenues were ohliged to request the Nayak to 
call the Portuguese back again. " 

During this period of disturbance the Tarawa? held pearl fisheries from the small 
islands along the Madura coast and " assisted to the best of their power the Portu- 
guese vessels."* 

I refer to this period of the temporary settlement of the Parawas in the Madura 
islands, the unmistakable evidence of a fishery camp to be seen to-day among the 
sand-dunes of Nallatanui tivu, an island lying off the coast between Kilakarai and 
Tutieoriu. If we fix the date of this fishery at 1560 to 1570 we cannot be far out, 
for, it was in J 560 that the Viceroy Don Constantine de Braganca erected the fort of 
Mannar and transferred thereto the inhabitants of the Parawa town of Piunacoil, the 
scene of Francis Xavier's labours twenty years previously, and one of their chief and 
most prosperous settlements, f 

By this change the island of Mannar become rich and prosperous as long as the 
fisheries continued to give handsome returns. De Sa e Menezes (loc. cit.) writing in 
1622 states that for many years the fisheries had become extinct " because of the 
great poverty into which the Parawas had fallen, for they made no profit for want of 
accommodation and of boats" — a result likely to arise from the exactions of Church 
and of State, from the natural improvidence of the race and from the rapid decay of 
Portuguese sea-power consequent upon the successful inroads made upon their mono- 
poly of sea-borne commerce between India and Europe. The Portuguese, struggling 
for very existence and in continual straits for the money requisite to carry on an 
exhausting contest, increased their exactions from the natives and at the same time 
were unable to give them adequate protection, especially at sea. "We may infer with 
every probability of this being true, that from the time the Dutch first appeared in 
force in Indian seas, a time coinciding with a period of great official corruption 
and internal unrest among the Portuguese, the management of the pearl banks 
became inefficient and badly conducted. 

Tutieorin and the sovereignty of the pearl banks and of the Parawas passed to 
the Dutch in 1658. In 1663 the first fishery under the new rule was held, 
resulting in a profit of 18,000 florins. % 

At this fishery the Nayak of Madura and the Setupati of Eamnad and the head 
Moor of Kayalpattanam had their accustomed number of boats free as under the Portu- 

Just prior to this fishery Cornelis Valkenburg had written " The fishery of 
Mannar (Gulf of Mannar) is in great repute with the Portuguese and everybody else, 
but if it be really of much importance has not yet been experienced and therefore I 
can give no information on the subject ". § 

The second Dutch fishery took place six years later, in 1669, with what profit I 
do not know. Then a long interval of 22 years occurred bringing us to the third 
fishery, 1691, at which there were 385| stones admitted free, viz. : — 
96 1 for the ]S T ayak of Madura. 

59 for the Setupati of Eamnad and the remainder for the headmen of the divers 
divided on the lines detailed in the statement of these arrangements at the Ceylon 
fishery of 1694 appended. 

Six years later, 1697, we find Croon, the Commandant of Jaffna, writing that 
" the pearl fishery is an extraordinary source of revenue, on which no certain reliance 
can be placed, as it depends on various contingencies which may ruin the banks or 
spoil the oysters. If no particular accident happen, it may take place for several 

* Van Reede and Pyl he. cit. 

t De Sa e Menezes describes Finnaooil (Putioale aB he spells the name — probably a misprint) at the time of this 
transference as " a place on the Fishery Coast, inhabited by Parawas, who tired of the continual attacks of the Bodaguas, 
their neighbours, live! more the life of fronteros than of fishermen, which trade they plied for subsistence, but were 
continually robbed and cut off by their neighbours." "The Rebellion of Ceylon," translated from the Spanish try 
Lieutenant-Colonel H. H. St. George.) 

1 See Appendix A, page 80. 

§ In instructions left for the guidance of his successors, the Residents of the 6even Harbours on the Madura Coast, 
" Ceylon Lit. Keg. ", Vol. Ill, page 160. 


years successively .... but if the oysters happen to he washed off the banks 
or to be disturbed by storms, the banks may be totally ruined in a very short time. 
. . . . The examination .... is superintended by Commissioners specially 
appointed and is conducted in . . dhonies by Pattangattyns and other native 
headmen, who understand the business ".* 

The next glimpse we get of a fishery off the Tuticorin coast is in the graphic 
description by Father Martin, a Jesuit missionary, of a disastrous three days' fishery 
held in 1700. The description in spite of errors in detail is so vivid and instructive 
that it may well be reproduced here for comparison with that left on record by flibeyro 
of the methods pursued in Portuguese days and also with those employed at the 
present time. 

" In the early part of the year the Dutch sent out ten or twelve vessels in 
" different directions to test the localities in which it appeared desirable that the fishery 
" of the year should be carried on ; and from each vessel a few divers were let down 
" who brought up each a few thousand oysters, which were heaped upon the shore in 
K separate heaps of a thousand each, opened and examined. If the pearls found in each 
' : heap were found by the appraisers to be worth an ecu or more, the beds from which 
" the oysters were taken were held to be capable of yielding a rich harvest ; if they were 
" worth no more than thirty sous, the beds were considered unlikely to yield a profit 
" over and above the expense of working them. As soon as the testing was completed, 
" it was publicly announced either that there would, or that there would not, be a fishery 
"that year. In the former case enormous crowds of people assembled on the coast on the 
" day appointed for the commencement of the fishery ; traders came there with wares of 
" all kinds ; the roadstead was crowded with shipping, drums were beaten, and muskets 
" fired ; and everywhere the greatest excitement prevailed, until the Dutch Cominis- 
" sioners arrived from Colombo with great pomp, and ordered theproceedings to beopened 
" with a salute of cannon. Immediately afterwards the fishing vessels all weighed 
" anchor and stood out to sea, preceded by two large Dutch sloops, which in due time 
" drew off to the right and left and marked the limits of the fishery, and when each 
" vessel reached its place, half of its complement of divers plunged into the sea, each 
" with a heavy stone tied (sic) to his feet to make him sink rapidly, t and furnished with 
" a sack into which he put his oysters, and having a rope tied round his body, the end 
" of which was passed round a pulley and held by some of the boatmen. Thus equip- 
" ped, the diver plunged in, and on reaching the bottom, filled his sack with oysters 
" until his breath failed, when he pulled a string with which he was provided, and, the 
" signal being perceived by the boatmen above, he was forthwith hauled up by the 
" rope, together with his sack of oysters. No artificial appliances of any kind were 
" used to enable the men to stay under water for long periods ; they were accustomed 
" to the work almost from infancy, and consequently did it easily and well. Some 
" were more skilful and lasting than others, and it was usual to pay them in proportion 
" to their powers, a practice which led to ranch emulation and occasionally to fatal 
" results. 

" As sood as all the first set of divers had come up, and their takings had been 
c: examined and thrown into the hold, the second set went down. After an interval, 
''• the first set dived again, and after them the second ; and so on turn by turn. The 
u work was very exhausting, and the strongest could not dive oftener than seven or 
' : eight times in a day, so that the day's diving was finished always before noon. 

" The diving over, the vessels returned to the coast and discharged their cargoes ; 
" and the oysters were all thrown into a kind of park, and left for two or three days, 
" at the end of which they opened and disclosed their treasures. The pearls, having 
" been extracted from the shells, and carefully washed, were placed in a metal receptacle 
" containing some five or six colanders of graduated sizes, which were fitted one into 
"another so as to leave a space between the bottoms of every two, and were pierced 
: ' with holes of varying sizes, that which had the largest holes being the topmost 
" colander, and that which had the smallest being the undermost. When dropped into 

* Lee's translation of Kibeyro'e " History of Ceylon ," page '247. 

t The writer is obviously in error when he states that the diving stone is "tied " to the diver's foot, that a 
diver cannot dive oftener than seven or eight .times a day and also in his account of the method of extracting the pearls 
from the decaying oysters. 

H15 statement that one day'B catch (not necessarily the first) belonas expressly to the King (Nayak of Madura) or 
Setapati according to the locality where the fi<;heiy takes place is correct, only with regard to India. This privilege whs 
frequently contended for by the Nawab of the Carnatieat the Aripu fii-heries but was consistently refused by the Dutch, 
who however allowed the exaction to be made by mutual agreement between this potentate and thoBe of'his subjects 
taking part in the fisheries held on the Ceylon side, the suzerain right to one day's fishing iValy or Wally) being resen ed 
at Anpu by the Dutch Government as one of its sources of tevenue. 



" colander No. 1. all but the very finest pearls fell through into No. 2, and most of them 
•• passed into Nos. 3, 4 and 5; whilst the smallest of all, the seeds were strained off 
• : into the receptacle at the bottom. "When all had staid in their proper colanders, they 
•• were classified and valued accordingly. The largest, or those of the first class, were 
" the most valuable, and it is expressly stated in the letter from which this informa- 
u tion is extracted that the value of any given pearl was appraised almost exclusively 
•• with reference to its size, and was held to be affected but little by its shape and 
•• lustre. The valuation over, the Dutch generally bought the finest pearls. Thev 
" considered that they had a right of pre-emption. At the same time they did not 
" compel individuals to sell, if unwilling. All the pearls taken on the first day 
" belonged by express reservation to the King or to the Setupati according as the 
' : place of their taking lay off the coasts of the one or the other. The Dutch did not as 
iC was often asserted, claim the pearls taken on the second day. They had other and 
" more certain modes of making profit, of which the very best was to bring plenty of 
" cash into a market where cash was not very plentiful, and so enable themselves to 
" purchase at very easy prices. The amount of oysters found in different years varied 
" infinitely. Some years the divers had only to pick up as fast as they were able, 
" and as long as they could keep under water ; in others they could only find a few 
" here and there. In 1700 the testing was most encouraging, and an unusually large 
"number of boat-owners took out licenses to fish ; but the season proved most dis- 
" astrous. Only a few thousands were taken on the first day by all the divers together, 
" and a day or two afterwards not a single oyster could be found. It was supposed 
"by many that strong under-currents had suddenly set in owing to some unknown 
" cause. Whatever the cause the results of the failure were most ruinous. Several 
(i merchants had advanced large sums of money to the boat-owners on speculation, 
" which were, of course, lost. The boat- owners had in like manner advanced money 
" to the divers and others, and they also lost their money." * 

The fishery of 1708 appears the next that was held, and one that gave a satis- 
factory return. At this fishery 398 free stones were allowed as follows : — 

" List of free stones according to ancient customs. 

96§ to the Naick of Madura — 4 Xtian, 921 Moorish 
60 to Theuver — 60 Moorish. 

10 to Head Moorman of Cailpatnam — 5 Xtian, 5 Moorish. 
185 to the Pattangatyns of this coast — all Xtian stones. 
30 to those of Mannar. 
13 to those of Jaffnapatam. 
3| lost by 4 Moors who died in the fishery. 

398 Stones free, valued at Pards (Pardaos) .... 3,591." 

The 185 stones given to the Pattangatyns or headmen of the Parawas was in the 
nature of remuneration to these men for assistance in inspecting the banks, in 
guarding any oyster banks discovered, in recruiting divers and in superintending 
operations during the course of the fishery. All these stones are specifically termed 
" Christian stones ", meaning that the divers using them were Christians (Parawas), 
whereas those allowed to the Nayak and Teuver (Setupati of Eamnad) were all 
Moorish, save for four Christians. The explanation of this division is that the two 
great Muhammadan settlements, Kayalpattanam and Kilakarai were situated respect- 
ively in the territories of the Nayak and the Setupati, whereas the sovereignty over 
the Christian Parawas was vested expressly, first in the Portuguese and then by 
conquest in the Dutch. f 

* Thurston, E. " Pearl and Chank Fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar ", Madras Museum Bulletin, No. 1, page 9, 
Madras, 1894. 

t The employment of native headmen in the examination of the Pearl banks and in the management of fisheries and 
their remuneration by the grant of similar privileges to the above was continued by the Ceylon GoTernment up to 1863 . 
Latterly there were but five employed, namely the Adigar of Mannar, the Maniagar of Karaiyur, two Adapannars and a 
Pattankoddi. The remuneration was five stones (the equivalent of one boat) to the Adigar, two to the Maniagar and one 
apiece to the other headmen. Sir William Twynam 'Eeport on the Ceylon Pearl Fisheries, 1900) states that they 
generally sold their privileges at the beginning of a fishery. The Adigar of Mannar had the last privilege in 1803. 
■Regarding the quality of the assistance they rendered Sir William Twynam remarks " I found them highly intelligent 
ana well-informed men, well acquainted with the Pearl banks and matters connected with the fisheries, i hey helped 
Mr. Vane and Captain Pritchard to carry on the fisheries in 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859 and 1860 and the Adigar of 
Mannar rendered me very valuable service during the fishery of 1S63." With this favourable estimate I heartily coin- 
cide both in regard to the present Adigar of Musali and the present representatives of the fishing and diving communities 
on the Indian coast ; a tactful and sympathetic attitude and the avoidance of any act or speech likely to arouse their 
prejudices soon win their confidence and in the present condition of the management of the Indian Bank the aasistano* 
the^ can tender is not in any way to be despised. 


The financial account of this fishery which has fortunately survived the vicissi- 
tudes of time is dated 24th May 1708 and is as follows : — 

■•' Tuticorin, 24th May 1708. 

In this fishery the whole number of stones employed was ... 4,321^ 

Namely, 2,380 Xtian at 7 pardaws each of 

10 fananis ... 16,660 

l,5olg Moorish at 12 pardaws each of 10 fanams ... 18,618 

390 Heathen at 9-| pardaws each of 10 fanams ... 3,705 

educt 398 free stones at above value . 



Pards. . 


Sts. 3,923J 

About . 

.. fl.106,176 
= £9,000 

From this statement we learn that the total of stones employed reached the 
astonishingly large number of 4,321|, considerably more than the number of divers 
who attended, the Ceylon Fishery of 1903, *a fishery which gave the prodigious 
total of 41,169,637 fished oysters and a Government gross revenue of Es. 8,30,000. 

Are we to infer that this Tuticorin Fishery of 1708 although yielding but £9,000 
(Rs. 1,35,000 at the present exchange') to the Government was not so productive of 
ovsters as the Ceylon one instanced ? In the absence of other particulars we have no 
means of judging with certainty but as the average price per stone is some 9 pardaos, 
each equal to about four guineas, and as this sum r epresents the license to fish accorded 
to a diver for the whole period of the fishery we may infer with some degree of 
probability from the large number of men engaged that the total catch may have been 
equally large. Under the conditions that rule at the present day, Government obtains 
a greater profit upon the fisheries, receiving two-thirds of the entire catch ; hence the 
receipts from the sale of the right to fish probably made the fishery much more profit- 
able to the subject in the early days of Dutch rule and acknowledged receipts of 
fll06,176 (Es. 1,35.000) would represent a fishery on a scale of magnitude comparing 
most favourably with the fisheries held during the last half of the lyth century. 

The proportions of divers supplied from the three religions then prevalent is also 
shown by this account, namely — 

2,380 Christians (Parawas). 
1,501 Moormen. 
390 " Heathen ", i.e., Hindus. 

These 390 Hindu divers did not represent a remnant of Parawas remaining 
unconverted to Eoman Catholocism, but belonged to the Kadeiyar caste of lime 
gatherers and burners of Eameswarem and the neighbourhood from which caste the 
ranks of the divers are in part recruited at the present day.f 

So far as I can ascertain no divers practising the Hindu religion have attended 
any pearl fisheries during the last half century, while the relative proportionate 
strength of Christians and Muhammadans has gradually tended to the preponderance 
of the latter, so that at rec%nt fisheries the Muhammadans outnumber the Christians, 
an increase due partly to larger families reared by the latter and to the more regular 
and abstemious lives they lead. 

In my report on the Ceylon fishery of 1904 I noted the marked superiority of 
Muhammadan over Christian divers in the number of seconds they remain under water 
and in the greater number of oysters collected per dive — a superiority that makes the 
work of the former more productive and valuable. This appears to have been recog- 
nised in a very practical manner in the old fisheries we are now considering, as we see 

» The total of diver3 who attended the Ceylon Pearl Fishery of 1903, was 3,922. 

t Many of this eiste are now converted to Eoman Catholicism, and it is from this division of the caste that ths 
present anpply of Kadeiyar diverB is drawn. 


from the account given above that the Moorish stones sold for 5 pardaos more than 
those of the Christians, the rate of market valuation being as. 12 to 7. Strangely 
enough the Hindu stones ooeupied an intermediate value, being 9~ pardaos per stone.* 

At the Ceylon fishery of 1694, a similar disparity is noticeable there being then 

sold : — 

1,290 Christian stones at 6^ Rixdollars. 

204 Gentoo (Hindu) at 9~ do. 
1,268 Moorish ,, ' at 11| do. 

In the accounts of this last fishery, I notice an entry of tC 13| ammonams of 
concealed arrack found in the bushes and out of the way places, sold at 6 Rixdollars 
the ammona = 82i_ Bixdollars," from which I fear we have to infer that the Parawas 
-were as greatly addicted to this indulgence 200 years ago as they are now ! 

No further fishery appears to have taken place between 1708 and the date of the 
relinquishment of the Governorship of Ceylon by Baron Van Imhoff in 1740. 

Such a lengthy intermittence in productiveness had been a source of continual 
regret to his predecessors, so that when Van Imhoff wrote his valedictory memoir in 
1740 for the information and guidance of his successor, he urged a departure from the 
policy of conducting the fishery in auinany or directly on behalf of Government. 
Under such conditions the Government had made its profit by the sale of the right to 
use diving stones at the fishery (amounting virtually to the taxation of the divers 
employed) and of the sundry duties levied in the fishing camp (" Exchange," Bazaar 
and cloths). 

This memoir is perhaps the most valuable and statesmanlike administrative record 
left by any Dutch Governor. Therefore it is well if I give verbatim the portion 
relating to the condition of the Pearl Banks at this time and to the alternative policy 
of administration advocated here for the first time. 

Extract from the Memoir of His Excellency G. W. Baron Van Imhoff on his departure 
from the Government of Ceylon, left for the instruction of Ms successor. His 
Excellency William Mauri ts Bruyninlc. 

"The Aripo and Tutucoryn Pearl Fisheries are certainly to be reckoned among 
" the sources of produce to this island or rather of revenue for the profit which the 
" Company derives from the holding of a fishpry must rather be classed under the latter 
" head than under the former, as it consists in different duties which are paid for diving 
" those banks, and clivers sums paid for the stones used in catching the oysters, and 
" some part in oysters themselves paid as taxes, which are sold wheD the fishery is at 
" an end ; duties are also paid on what is called the exchange, and on cloths which are 
" brought to the bazaar, but the Company does not in fact obtain any pearls, nor is 
" there even a chance for the Company to purchase any pearls there, although the 
" highest authorities have so often endeavoured to do so, for at the fishery pearls are 
" sold at so high a price that the Moors are cunning enough to rub up even old pearls 
" and to bring them there for sale, with a certainty of taking in the unwary, and 
" deriving more profit from it. 

" But it is not so much a matter of concern whether the fishery is to be called a 
" source of reveuue or of produce, as whether it can in reality be looked upon as a 
" source of advantage and profit derived from Ceylon, or whether it is more glitter than 
" gold, as many things are which belong to the Company, which shine uncommonly, 
u but have no real substance. This question is neither tf novel nor unfounded one, 
"■ and to properly answer it, we must weigh- against the advantages which we have just 
" detailed, the inconveniences, discomforts, noise, expenses, the risks of the Commission- 
" ers, the employment of the Militia, the consumption of provisions, the dangers of 
" ships, etc.; we must also mention the hazards run by a few hundred men sent to keep 
" immense crowds in order, and their exposure to sickness and death as well after the 
" fishery as during its continuance from the stench of the oysters ; the price of provi- 
" sions is also enormously increased ; the Company's trade in cloth is discontinued for 
" a long time from the prevalence of smuggling which is occasioned by the immense 
" numbers of persons resorting to those parts of the island ; we may also add that 

« Ante. 


K pepper is smuggled away, as well as arecanuts, although it would be thought that 
" a multitude of more than 100,000 persons who consume these nuts for the space of 
"two or three months should give some profit, yet the Company draws nothing from 
" it. If therefore all these matters be weighed, one against the other, it must be 
" decided, as I, for my part, maintain, that unless the fishery be indeed a full and 
" opulent one, all others must be prejudicial to the Company's interests ; and it were 
" really desirable that no such fisheries should take place, but that there should be 
" an annual rent for the diving of the banks, as now takes place with regard to the 
" chanks, with a limited number of persons and of boats ; or in some other convenient 
" wav that a mode should be devised to acquire for the Company the profit which 
" they should derive from the fisheries, both here and on the opposite coast, as Lords 
" of the country, without the holding of any public fishery. The bad condition of 
" the pearl-banks on both sides the coast has lasted for some years, and there is now 
" no prospect of an early fishery ; yet this cannot be attributed to any disorder in the 
<{ country any more than the want of purchasers for our Madura cloths. This is mere 
" chance and experience has shown that the banks have lain fallow for a much longer 
"time than has as yet been the case on this occasion, and it is useless therefore to 
" seek for the causes of things which are neither uncommon nor unheard of. I only 
" mention this cursorily, and to prove that the interest of the Company requires that 
"an examination of the banks sbould take place every two years, if not every year, 
" which indeed is not absolutely necessary, and the expense may therefore be spared ; 
" yet from time to time or say every two years, an investigation should take place. 

" As far as the inspection of the Aripo banks is concerned, Tutucoryn boats should 
' : be employed, as their Honors recommended in a recent despatch, a Dissave from 
" Jaffnapatam should also be present to see that no neglect takes place, and to summon 
' : the boats from the opposite coast, and to take all necessary precautions when appear- 
" ances prove favourable, in order to ensure a good result ; for the Company has been 
l - shamefully treated in this respect since the fishery of 1732. Indeed there are many 
" natives who pretend to give reasons for the failure of the banks, and who say that 
M the multitude of persons forced there against their will have ruined the banks, whilst 
" others looked to their own profit too much, and also that the divers have not spared 
" the young oysters, and that this accounts for the nakedness of the banks which have 
" not yet recovered from their last pillaging. All this is as probable as the pretexts of 
" the country being under a spell, but to end this matter we will pray God that the 
" Island may never again suffer losses such as it now sustains from one cause or the 
" other." 

Pour years after the date of this memoir, namely in 1744, Baron Van ImhofE 
became Governor-General of the Netherlands Indies and immediately called attention 
to his Ceylon memoir. He desired to be informed whether it would not be advisable 
to discontinue the open fisheries and preferable to rent them out to a single individual. 
Van Gollenesse, the new Governor of Ceylon, in a closely-reasoned reply, * meets and 
refutes the objections likely to be raised to this change and strongly advocates an 
alteration in the method of conducting the fisheries, which was thereupon sanctioned. 

Accordingly the fishery which took place in 1746 was conducted on this new 
footing : all free boats and stones were abolished, for, as the Governor states, these 
privileges were merely conceded to the Nayak and the Setupati because the greater 
number of the dhonies and people required at a public fishery came out of their 
territory, and these would not be necessary if the diving took place with a limited 
number of persons. All privileges were therefore withdrawn and the following 
instructions were given to the Commissioners of the Pearl Fishery by Governor Van 
Gollenesse : — 

" If it should happen (which is however improbable) that the Nabob or Theuver 
" should send their Ambassadors to be present at this Pishery, and to take care of 
" their pretended rights, they are not to be allowed to land, but some armed boats well 
" filled with men and ammunition must be sent to meet them, and they must first be 
" warned in a friendly way to depart, and if this be ineffectual, the matter must be 
" treated more seriously, and you must order the Commanders of our boats that they 

* See Appendix D, pages 90-92. 


"are by no means to permit any armed foreign boats of a suspicious kind to come 
" within range of their shot, and if warning given does not turn them away, they must 
" fire on them at once." 

1747. This year the unproductive cycle that had prevailed so long on the 
Tuticorin side was broken, the fishery being rented out for 60 3 000 norms (£5,000). 

The change of system now introduced involved the abolition of the privilege of 
free or untaxed divers hitherto granted to the native rulers of Madura and Baumad, 
whose dominions had now merged in those of the Nawab of the Carnatic who had 
dispossessed the last of the Nayak dynasty of Madura in 1736. lie, a more powerful 
ruler than the Nayak, did not acquiesce without stout opposition and at the 1747 
fishery it had been thought wise to permit the renter of the fishery to give 30 free 
divers to the Nawab for which concession the renter received a proportionate reduc- 
tion in the stipulated price of his rent. 

Two other fisheries, also rented out, took place in the two next succeeding years. 
The rental of that of 1718 amounted to 114,720 florins (£9,560), while that of"l74«J 
was florins 63,600 (£5,300). 

At the former. 35 free divers were again allowed to the Carnatic overlord, much 
against the Dutch Company's will however, for we read in the secret instructions 
sent to the " Company's Commissioners in the rented fishery on the coast of Madura " 
before the fishery of 1749 : — 

" We think it necessary to inform you also that as the Armane may cause much 
" injury to our defenceless Linen Factories, we granted the Nabob, on his urgent 
" request, 35 divers in the two last fisheries, but Their Excellencies (the Government of 
" Batavia) did not approve of this concession, and therefore, in case His Envoys should 
" again claim this grant from you, you must endeavour to reduce the number to 17 or 
"IS divers, showing that even this will give greater profit than the 96| which the 
"Nabob had formerly in an open fishery, when the whole number of stones amounted 
" to several thousands. 

" But if you cannot effect this, and if you see any risk for the Company's becom- 
" ing embroiled with the Begent by a pertinaceous refusal, you will then be empowered 
"to grant 30 or 35 divers, but it must appear to be done without our knowledge, and 
" on your own private authority. 

" But if the Catta Theuver, or any other native chief, should request a similar 
" concession, you must refuse it flatly." 

Between 1749 and 1784 I can trace no record of any further Pearl fishery off 
the Tuticorin coast save the suggestion of one in 1771 furnished by the existence of 
a set of " Conditions of a rent of the Tutucoreen Fishery of 1771 ". Article XXX 
of these conditions reads — 

" Lastly the renter of the fishery must admit 20 dhonies of the Armanie or 
" Regent of Madura, with 96| stones and two dhonies on the part of the Catte 
" Theuvers *, manned in the same manner as the Benter's dhonies, which 22 dhonies, 
"together with ISO of the renters, shall fish throughout the whole fishery without 
" the renters being permitted to make any demand on that account." 

Of the fishery of 1784, the only particulars I have (furnished by the Madras 
Government) are that it was held on the Tolayiram Par, giving to the Company, 
which fished it departmentally, a gross revenue of 20,000 cully chucrums. This at 
Bs. 2-1-11 1 per cully chucrum gives a return in rupees of lis. 42,447-14-8. 

This long series of blank years extending, with the' doubtful exception above 
mentioned, over a period of thirty-five years, may have been due up to 1768 to 
imperfect inspection or to natural causes or to a combination of the two, but the 
intermittenee thereafter arose in the main from the reluctance of the Dutch to agree 
to the pressing demands of the Nawab of the Carnatic to participate upon exorbi- 
tant conditions in the profits arising from the fisheries both on the Ceylon and the 

* The Caite Theuvers, the Setupati Rajas of Ramnad, made a treaty with the Dutch in 1767, whereby in exchange 
for the possession of Pamban Pass and the surrender to the Dutch of the right to levy dues on shipping passing there — 
throngh, the Dutch agreed to grant the Setupati two free diving boats at all the future pearl fisheries held on the banks 
lying off the coast of Madura, or " under the territory of Tutucoryn together with the privilege to purchase from the- 
putch Government in every fishery held on the Ceylon side five boats at the ean.e price as the renter should contract..' - ' 


Indian Banks. As already mentioned, at the Ceylon Fishery held at Aripu in 176S 
violent disputes occurred with the Nawab's envoys who went to the fishery attended 
by a large body of armed sepoys and tried to carry matters with a high hand. 

The Dutch loth, with their usual caution and fear for the interruption of their 
cloth monopoly in Madura, to bring matters to a crisis, preferred to let the pearl 
fisheries remain virtually in abeyance till a settlement was effected on equitable terms — 
terms which meant the curtailment if possible of the Nawab's pretensions. 

It was not till 1786 that the Dutch, pressed by the English Government in 
Madras (to whom the Nawab had appealed as his ally and virtual suzerain) to effect a 
settlement of the long-standing dispute, made provisional terms with the Nawab.* 
By these the Nawab obtained much greater advantage than had been contemplated 
twenty years previously, due to the dwindling power of the Dutch and their growing 
fear of the rapid extension of the military power and commercial supremacy of the 
English East India Company. 

The chief articles of the agreement affecting the Pearl fisheries were that the 
Nawab should be granted one-half of the profits arising from fisheries off the Madura 
coast and have 36 free dhonies at any fisheries held on the Ceylon side, privileges 
allowed in return for a confirmation of the Dutch trading monopoly in Madura cloth — 
ever one of the most lucrative sources of revenue to the Dutch Company. 

The treaty, however, was never fully ratified, but by the advice of the English 
Governor of Madras its terms were allowed to govern the fisheries of 1787 and 1792, 
the profits therefrom being accordingly shared equally by the Circar or Government 
of the Carnatic (i.e., the Nawab) and the Dutch Company. 

The fishery of 1787 took place on the Tolayiram Par and gave a gross revenue 
of Es. 63.000 : that of 1792 upon the Dti, Uduruvi, Kilati and Attuveiarpagom 
Pars, which lie inshore of Tolayiram Par; it yielded Es. 42,525 to the joint 

Except with regard to the conduct of these two fisheries, the treaty never came 
into force, the Madras Government steadily refusing its consent because of the 
objectionable clause relating to the cloth monopoly. In this unsettled condition, 
marked by the continual interchange of despatches between Colombo and Madras, 
matters remained till the Dutch dominion of the Pearl Banks on both sides passed to 
the British in 1796. 

The Pearl Banks undee the British. 

Not long after the acquisition of the Pearl Banks by the British, the districts 
bordering the coast in this region and now known as that of Tinnevelly in the south 
and Madura in the north, passed to the British from the Carnatic Nawab. Thus the 
" Lords of the Pearl Fishery " acquired sovereign rights over the districts supplying 
the whole body of divers and by their own power could ensure safe conducts from 
Madura, Eamnad, Bombay, and Madras to the dealers in pearls whose attendance is 
necessary to the success of any fishery. The dues levied for assistance by local 
potentates, the source of constant anxiety and loss to the Portuguese and the Dutch, 
were brought to an end and for the last half century we hear of no privileges allowed 
save a few on a reduced scale to the headman of the Parawas. It is noteworthy to 
observe that this system of remuneration by fishery privileges of which the last 
remaining trace was abrogated in Ceylon in 1863, still lingers in the management of 
the Indian banks, the headman of the Parawas having the right to employ a limited 
and specified number of " free " boats at each fishery in return for help {rendered 
during the inspection of the banks and at the fisheries when held. 

This hereditary chief or Jati Talaivan f of the Parawas, like many of the 
descendants of natives of Ceylon who gave assistance to the Portuguese, bears the 
honorific prefix of " Don ", while the name of the present holder of the Chieftainship — 
Gabriel de Cruz Lazarus Motha Vas — further indicates the intimacy of his family's 
connection with Portuguese rule. 

* Two years liter a definite treaty on the same lines was signed by the Datch. 

t Literally "Head of the Caste'. Hib fall title is Jati Talaiyamore — the snfSx "more" being, I believe. 


His duties consist iu accompanying the Inspector on his periodical visits to the 
hanks — a duty formerly performed directly by the headmen themselves, — in furnishing 
guards to the banks to he fished, in supplying Government with information of any 
accidental finds of oysters by fishermen and in acting as intermediary between the 
Government and his caste with a view, by the exercise of his influence, to ensure the 
attendance at a fishery of an adequate supply of boats and divers. 

In 1S89 the Madras Government recorded its appreciation of the assistance 
rendered by the Jati Talaivan and " directed that his privilege of being allowed the 
take of two boats be continued ".* Each boat is understood to carry ] divers. 

Subsequently, in 1891, the Madras Government while confirming the general 
principle of privilege remuneration to the headman named, adopted the more satis- 
factory regulation of placing the extent of the remuneration upon the basis of a slid- 
ing scale, allowing him but one boat when the Government boats numbered 30 or 
less, two for 31 to 60 boats, three for 61 to 90 boats employed and so on in this 

The value of the Jati Talaivan's two privilege boats in the 1890 fishery was 
Es. 1,424, in that of 1900 only Es. 872. 

During the 100 years ending 1900 there appear to have been the following 
twelve fisheries. 

* Proceedings of "the Board of Revenue, Madras, ' L No. 702, 1889. The .amount which this privilege realized to this 
headman at the 1889 fishery waeRs. 7,620. 





! M 

From particulars 
furnished by the 
Madras Govern- 
ment, supple- 
» mented in the 
cases of the 
Fisheries by the 
Jati Talaivan's 


Proceedings, Board 
> of Revenue, 1889, 
No. 484. 

Proceedings, Board 
■ of Revenue, 1900, 
No. 208. 

. 1. , i 





Velangu Karuwal Par ,. 
Tolayiram Pdr 

Velangu Karuwal, Karai 
Karuwal and Tiruchen- 
d<ir Puutotta Pars. 

Kudamuttu, Saith Kuda- 
muttu, and Putu Pars. 

Tolayiram Par 

Kudamuttu, Saith Kuda- 
muttu, Putu, Kadian, 
Kanavai and Rajavukku 
Sippi Sotichcha Pars. 

Tolayiram, Uti, (Jduruvi, 
Kilati and Padutta 
Marikan Tundu Pars. 

Cruxian, Cruxian Tundu, 
Nagara, Dti, Uduruvi, 
Atonpatu, Kilati, Devi, 
Pernandu and Vaipar 
Karai Pttrs. 

Karai Karuwal and Vel- 
angu Karuwal Pars. 

Tolayiram Par 

Teradi Puli Piditta and 
Tundu Pars. 


price per 


i— ( 

BS. A. p. 

22 8 6 
20 10 
10 4 9 

















Nil (an unsuc- 
cessful fishery). 






Age of 


5 3'ears. 
about 4 years. 

*•* ■ 
— a> 


■*9 CD 

o -.a 


3 e? 



More than 



Total nninbor of 

oystors lifted on 




22,086,658* plus 
oystors lishcd by 
Govornmont de- 



number of 

boats fishing 

per day. 


• ■• • ••• . • • n m to 

Number of 



■•• ■ ••• ■ • • CO CT -^1 

• ■• ■ ••■ • • •!— coir— 

Numhei of 




F - «ota 

• •• • • m • ■ • • U3 ^i .-I 






u;t-© ia oocioo o S H 0)00 

© © -* — « »H Ol CO CO S O CO CT> © 


The oysters are at the present day fished on Government account and according 
to the arrangements in force at the last three fisheries the Government claims two- 
thirds of the total catch, selling its share at auction. The remaining third is the 
remuneration allowed to the divers and boat owners. 

In the following table I list and contrast all the fisheries of which I cnn find 
record on the Tuticorin and Ceylon sides, respectively, of the Gulf of Mannar : — 

Particulars of Pearl Fisheries from 1658 to 1904. 

Off Madura coast. i 

Off Ceylon 


Year of 


Govern ruent 


Year of 



£ t. d. 


Fl. 18,000 

■ . ■ • 




• • • • 

• • • • 


4,913 16 11 

Fished on Government 
account giving net profit 
as shown. 

• • . . 

. . • # 


6,160 7 5 



• ■ . ■ 

1 I oan find no particulars 
of profits realized. 

. , 




• • • • 


5,264*16 1 


• • • * 


6,177 3 9 


• • ■ ■ 


6,331 18 4 


* * . • 

• • • • 





Very meagre 

A disastrous 3-days' fishery. 



£9,000 .. 

= Fl. 1,06,176 grosB pro- 





• • • • 


Not ascertainable. 

An unproductive fishery. 





4,766 13 4* 

Fishery rented out to 

"-Fide Gover- 


nor Seh- 

Memoir . 


£5,000 .. 

= Fl. 60,000 

of 1762, 





£9,560 .. 

= F1. 1,14,720 < 

as givon 
in Lee's 
editi on 

. 1748 




£5,300 .. 

= Fl. 63,600 




of Ribe- 



" Cey- 



■ . • • 




Fishery of 6 days only. 




Fishery rented out. 





• • 


No fisheries held between 
1768 and 1784 owing to 
disputes with the Nawab 
of the Carnatio. 


Not ascertainable. 

Very unsuccessful on 
account of bad weather. 


42,477 Gross 

= 20,000 cully chucrums. 

Fished departmentally. 
("Rent received in equal 

• • 


>• ». 


63,000 ,, 

J shares by the Dutch 





42,525 ,, 

and the Nawab of the 
[_ Carnatio. 

J - 





37,096 15 

Fishery rented out. 



123,982 10 




142,780 10 





23,319 7 6 


Net proceeds — fished on 
Government account. 





Gross proceeds — fished or* 
Government account. 


• • • • 


, 1803 



, . 

• • . » 




Gross prooeods. 



Gross proceeds 


. . 

• • . • 




Gross proceeds. 



Gross proceeds . . , , 




, . 





Gross proceeds. 



Gross proceeds .. . . 












An unsuccessful fishery, 
giving no revenue. 




. . 

• ■ • • 











• * . • 




Gross proceeds. 



Gross proceeds , . 









Gross proceeds. 

* According to Schreuder; £12,000 according to Lee (RibejToJ. 


Particulars of Pearl Fisheries 

from 1658 to 1904— coat 


Off Madura Coast. 

Off Ceylon 


Tear of 
fisher v. 




Year of 





, . 

. . . 



Gross proceeds. 



Gross proceeds 


2,22 564 


. , 






• • . • 

i . - » 




• • . . 





• . • c 

• . . . 




• > • • 




. . 

■ • . * 

• . • • 




. . 





, . 

• • • • 

• • . • 




• • . • 




. , 

• ■ . • 





} 2,50,176 

Gross proceeds .. \ 









. . 





Gross proceeds. 


. • - • 

. . . 









. . . ■ 





• . • • 

. . . 











. . • ■ 













Gross proceeds 








3, IS, 177 



• . • . 







Gross proceeds 


, , 





Gross proceeds. 





Twenty-four fisheries within 246 years. Fifty-eight fisheries within 246 years. 

Note. — The particulars regarding the Ceylon fisheries prior to 1801 are taken from the appendix to Lee's trans- 
lation of Ribeyro's " History of Ceylon," Colombo, 1847. The later figures are from offioial returns furnished to rue by 
the Government of Ceylon. 

The list of fisheries held on the Ceylon side is, I believe, exhaustive ; possibly 
two or three may he omitted from the enumeration of those upon the Indian coast. 
As it stands we have a total of twenty-four fisheries recorded from the latter locality 
as against 53 from the former during the period of 246 years from 1653 to 1904. 

Comparing the two lists a noteworthy feature is that many of the fisheries held 
on the Tuticorin banks coincide with blank years on the Ceylon banks. 

Thus out of all the Indian fisheries those of 1663, 1669, 1691, 1700, 1784, 1787, 
1792, 1805, 1807, 1810, 1818, 1822, 1861, 1862 and 1900, fifteen out of the total 
of twenty-four, were years in which no fishery took place on the Ceylon side. 

Again this fact may be correlated to two others — 

(a) that usually any particular Indian fishery was preceded at a distance of 
from two to three years by a Ceylon fishery and 

(b) that in the same way each Indian fishery was followed at a similar 
interval by one on the Ceylon banks. 

Thus the Indian fisheries of — 












1889, 1890 

were preceded respectively by Ceylon fisheries 
held in — 
1666, 1667. 

1799, 1803 and 1804. 
1804, 1806. 
1806, 1808. 
1809, 1814. 

1828, 1329. 
1884, 1887. 


while in the same way the Indian fisheries 


1807 and 1810 
' 530 


vrero followed respectively by Ceylon fisheries 
in — 

1GUG, 16G7. 

1694 — 1697. 

1760. 1753 and 1754. 


1806, 1808. 

1809, 1814. 

1816, 1820. 




1831—1833 and 1835. 


1903, 1904. 

Such regularity of alternative succession extending over 75 per cent, of the 
fisheries held, on the Indian side appears to he more than a mere coincidence and lends 
weight to an opinion that has gradually been taking shape and developing in my 
mind that the beds on the opposite sides of the Gulf confer reciprocal benefits upon 
one another and that the Ceylon banks are frequently replenished from those off the 
Madura coast and, conversely, that the latter obtain most of their deposits of spat from 
the Ceylon side. 

The following table furnishes the valuation particulars of the last sample of 
oysters lifted from a Tuticorin bank :— 

Statement of the valuation and produce of 8,500 oysters lifted from the Teradipult^iditta 

Par in October 1899. 



? ht. 








Total yal 



Per balanji. 










« ' a 

£6. A. 



6TAB. l'ODS. 














. . 


4 6 





. , 

. , 


9 10 







7 14 






> 32 






] 12 














" ' 

■ • 


• • 


31 8 








• • 


9 12 




, . 


, , 


2 14 

, , 

• = 

Shell pearls 

, , 

■ • 




t , 



86 2 


Average per 1,000 oysters 

10 2 





The charted pearl banks along the Indian Coast of the Gulf of Mannar represent 
all those patches of rocky ground lying within the 10-fathom Hue known to the 
fishermen of that coast. Taken as a whole they deserve the name of pearl banks 
only so far as being so potentially. The number of these banks which have been 
known to bear mature oysters during the past century is limited to 23 at most, and 
except in the case of nine, none of them has been fished more than once in this long 
period. These potential pearl banks extend from Cape Comorin to Eameswaram 
Island at the extreme head of the Gulf, a distance of over 100 miles. They consist of 
whatever rocky outcrops there are upon the surface of the wide sub-marine plateau 
which fringes the whole extent of this coast. This pearl bank plateau is widest in 
the south, in the neighbourhood of Cape Comorin, gradually narrowing as we proceed 
northwards. In the south it shelves to the 100-fathom line at an easy gradient, and 
everywhere the width of the plateau is considerably greater than anywhere in the 
pearl bank region on the Ceylon side. 

The pars, as these banks are termed locally, may be arranged in three divisions : 
— the Northern or Kilakarai, extending from Adam's bridge to Vaipar ; the Central or 
Tuticorin, from Yaipar to the latitude of Manapad ; and the Southern or Comorin 
from thence southwards to Cape Comorin. 

The Central division is by far the most important ; indeed so far as recent 
historical evidence goes the banks of this division are the only productive ones. 

Many are extremely small ; some have been described as having an area little 
greater than that of an ordinary sized room, and as they owe their separate entities 
to the detailed local knowledge of fishermen engaged not in pearling but in ordinary 
fishing it will conduce greatly to simplify the pearl bank management if, in future, 
the majority of these separate banks instead of being listed individually, be linked 
together into groups, the members of each group occupying adjacent positions and 
having similar physical and biological characteristics ; some have characters rendering 
them entirely unsuited to the maturing of oysters and these may be deleted eventually 
once and for all. 

The names of these banks arranged in order from north to south and classified 
into groups consonant with their relative geographical position and with their 
identity of physical and biological characteristics are as follows : — 

A. — Northern or Kilakarai Division. 

I. Paniban Group 
II. Masai Tivu Group 

III. Kilakarai Group 

IY. Tanni Tivu Group 
Y. Vembar Group 

VI. Outer Yaipar Group 
YII. Inner Yaipar Group 

B. — Centra 


Composed of. 
P&mban Karai Par. 
P&mban Velangu Par. 
I" 3. Musal Tivu Par. 
*' \ 4. Solaka Karai Par. 

5. Kilakarai Vellai Malai Velangu Par. 
.. < 6. Vellai Malai Karai Par. 
[_ 7. Anna Par. 
T 8. Nalla Tanui Tivu Par. 
\ 9. Uppu Tanni Tivu Par. 

10. Kunxulam Par. 

11. Vembar Periya Par. 


or Tuticorin Division. 

,. 12. Vaipar Periya Par. 

fl3. Karai Par. 

| 14. Devi Par. 

, .«{ 15. Pernandu Par. 

| 16. Padutta Marikan Par. 

1^17. Padutta Marikan Tun du Par. 


VIII. Cruxian Group 

IX. Utti Group 



Pasi Par G roup 
Tolayiram Par 

XII. Pali Puudu Group 

XIII. Kanna Tivu Group 

XIV. Nenjui ichclian Group 

XV. Inner Kudamuttu Group 

XVI. Outer Kudamuttu Group 

XVII. Kadeiyan Group 

XVIII. Karuwal Par 

XIX. Ocakarai Group 

XX. Ckodi Group 
XXI. Tundu Par Group 

XXII. Manapad Group 

B. — Central or Tuticorin Division — cont. 

18. Tuticorin Kuda Par. 

19. Cruxian Par. 

20. Cruxian Tundu Par. 

21. Vantivu Arupagam Par. 

22. Nagara Par. 

23. Utti Par. 

24. Uduruvi Par. 

25. Kilati Par. 

26. Attuvai Arupagam Par. 

27. Attonpatu Par. 

28. Pasi Par. 
2Sa. Pattarai Par. 

29. Kutadiar Par. 

30. Tolayiram Par. 

31. Vada Onpatu Par. 
31a. Saith Onpatu Par. 

32. Puli Pundu Par. 
32a. Kanna Puli Pundu Par. 

J 34. Kanna Tivu Arupagam Par, and perhaps 

•\35. Tundu Par. 

T36. Nenjurichckan Par. 

. < 36a. Par Kundanjan Par. 

\_36b. Mela Onpatu Par. 

r 37. Pinnacoil Seltan Par. 

38. Sandamaram Piditta Par. 

39. Irai Tivu Kudamuttu Par. 
39a. Nadu Kudamuttu Par. 
41. Kudamuttu Par. 
41a. Rajavukku Sippi Sotickcua Par. 
41b. Saith Kudamuttu Par. 

40. Kovil Piditta Pattu'Par. 
40a. Sankuraiya Pattu Par. 
40b. Nillan Kallu Par. 
40c. Sattu Kuraiya Pattu Par. 

I 43. Kadeiyan Par. 
... | 43a. Kanawa Par. 
( 43b. Putu Par. 

I 42. Naduvu Malai Piditta Par. 
) 42a. Periya Malai Piditta Par. 
'"1 44. Karai Karuwal Par- 
[ 45. Velangu Karuwal Par. 

48. Odakarai Par, 

49. Cliodi Par. 

4(3. Tundu Par. 

f 47. Trichendur Puntoddam Par. 

| 50. Sandamacoil Piditta Par. 

...\bl. Teradi Piditta Par. 

| 52. Semman Path Par. 

(_53. Surukku Onpatu Par. 

Southern or Comorin Division. 


XXIII. Manapad Periya Par. 

The remainder of the Southern banks cannot at present be grouped, as their 
positions are not marked on the Inspection Chart, and as I have had no opportunity 
to examine them. Their names will be found in the list on page 107 numbered from 
55 onwards. 

Central oe Tuticorin Group. — The Central division corresponds both in latitude 
and in extent with the productive pearl bank region on the opposite Ceylon coast, 
Manapad point coinciding exactly with the latitude of the Ceylon Muttuvaratu Par, 
while the Tolayiram Par, off Tuticorin, similarly coincides, as well in latitude as in 
great relative extent, with the Cheval Par, the bank of largest area and greatest 
productive importance on the Ceylon side. 


The great majority of the pars are marshalled roughly iu line parallel with and 
at a distance of from 7 to S miles from land. From Kayalpatlanam to Vaipar a 
second and outer series occurs, lying in rather deeper water. The depth of the inner 
series is in the main 7 to S fathoms, that of the outer S to 11 fathoms. 

The surface of these pars consists of a rock which appears in man y instances to he 
of recent origin, rock formed by the consolidation of sand and dead corals in situ. The 
nature of the rock varies considerably, partaking usually largely of the present 
character of the circumjacent sand and as the latter on this portion of the Indian 
coast is made up principally of calcareous grains formed from the comminuted remains 
of shells and corals, so the calcrete is normally a more or less pure limestone. 
Occasionally the remains of corals are met with, and here and there the calcrete contains 
a varying amount of quartz sand. The proportion of quartz in no case is so great 
as that characterizing the typical quartzose calcrete so common on the Ceylon side. 
In several localities visited during the inspection, I am, however, of opinion that the 
exposed rock surfaces are not of contemporary origin, being of limestone too hard and 
compact to be considered a modern calcrete. Further, where such latter calcrete does 
occur, it appears to me to form but a comparatively thin crust over the underlying 
more compact bed-rock of the plateau whereof the density and grain appeal to me as 
significantly identical with the extremely hard, compact rock forming the core of the 
Jaffna islands and peninsula in the north of Ceylon. 

In no place did I see any shelly conglomerate, no rock in which the main 
constituent could be made out as formed from the accumulation of shells of pearl 
oysters, cockles and the like. 

It is impossible to say with any certainty. whether the banks which appear at the 
present day to be the only banks from which we can reasonably expect to reap an 
occasional pearl harvest, have always had this character or whether the banks which 
were productive centuries ago and anterior to the advent of European control were 
situated further south. Certain facts and inferences incline me to suspect that the 
latter was, to some extent at least, the case. There seems to be considerable evidence 
pointing to a considerable extension southwards of the Indian Peninsula at a compara- 
tively recent geological period. Without going into details as regards this it wiJl 
suffice to point out the great extent of shoals and of shallow water lying off Cape 
Comorin and to the statement in the ancient Tamil epic " Chilappatikaram " where in 
the opening lines of the Sth Chapter reference is made to a terrible irruption of the 
sea which devastated a great tract of country to the south of what is now Cape 
Comorin. The passage states * that the people of that time (circa second century A.D.) 
had heard from their fathers that in former days the land had extended further south, 
and that a mountain called LTumarikkodu and a large tract of country watered by the 
river Pahruli had existed south of Cape Kumari, and that at a time not very long 
before, in the reign of the Pandyan King Jayamakirtti alias Nilantarutiruvit Pandya, 
the sea had torn through the land, destroying the mountain Kumarikkodu and 
submerging the whole of the country through which flowed the river Pahruli. 

Lending corroborative weight to this legend are the stories of similar irruptions 
of the sea on the south-west coast of Ceylon recorded in the Buddhist annals of that 
country. Even now these stories are current among the Sinhalese of the south, who 
point to the outlying rocks known as the Basses, as the remnant of this lost land 
which they say was a land of richness abounding in towns and palaces. 

In this connection too we have to note the significant fact of the reported presence 
of large accumulations of oyster shells overlaid by soil at Muttam, about two miles 
north-east of Cape Comorin. f 

This presence of an old pearl fishery camp within two miles of the Cape lends 
further support to the theory of a great extension southwards of the pearl fishery 
region and while not conclusive as evidence add greatly to the physiographieal 
probabilities of such a hypothesis. 

* Fide V. Kanakasahhai in " The Tamils ■Eighteen hundred years ago ", Madras, 1904, p. 21. 

tatcraent made to tne to this effect in .May last hy the Juti 'I alaivan from hie personal knowledge. 


At a time when the southern extremity of India extended further to the south, 
the pearl hanks on both sides of the Gulf of Mannar 'would have, greater protection 
from the South-West monsoon than they have at present while the extent of suitable 
ground would be more extensive. At the present day on the coast of Tinnevelly aud 
Madura a converse process is in operation, the land slowly gaining upon the sea aloug 
the "coast line facing the central division of the pearl banks. Two factors are at work — 
the extension of fringing coral reefs along the coast and the distribution upon the sea 
bottom of considerable quantities of sand and mud brought down by the rivers 
Tambrapurni, Taipar, and Vembar. There is also a constant movement of sand north- 
wards during the prevalence of the South- West monsoon, whereby the depth of the 
water on this pearl bank plateau may possibly be rendered shallower and gain some 
extension seawards. 





Names of the Para a9 
thoy appear in the 

Names of the Pars in the 
improved orthographic 
forms now recommended 


Derivation and remarks. 


Inspection Reports 

for adoption. 


Paniban Karia Par 

Pamban Karai Par , . 

Pamban inshore bank, i.e., 
Pamban inner banl;. 

Karai, shore ; par, rock and by 
extension of meaning, rocky 


VelnnguPar ,, 

Pamban Velangu Par . , 

The bmk near Pamban 
lying farther from shore, 
i.e , Pamban outer bank. 

Vel.mgu, further. 


Masai Thiva Par 

Masai Tivu Par . . 

Bank lying near Jlaie 

Musal, hare ; tivu, island. 


Cholava Karai Par , . 

Solaka Karai Par , . 

Bank lying off the south 
shore (of Uamesvaram.) 

Solaka (cholaka) south ; Karai, 
shore. Cholava probably a 
misprint for cholaka, which 
is the fishermen's term for 
south. " Ten " is the touth 
of the landsman. 


Kilakarai Vallia Malai 

Kilakarai Vellai Malai 

Outer bank off the white 

Kilai, eat,t ; Karai, ehore; 

Velangu Par. 

Velangu Par. 

hill at Kilakarai (Kila- 
karai, literally the Ea*t 

vellai, white ; malai, hill ; 
velangu, further or outer 
(Kilakarai a port on the east 


Vallia Malai Karai Par . . 

Vellai Malai Karai Par . . 

Inner bank off Vellai 

Karai, inshore i.e. , inner in 
contrast to Velangu, outer. 
Vellai Malai, a white and 
conspicuous sand dune near 


Anna Par . . 

Anna Par . . 


Anna or annam signifies swan. 


Nallathanni Thivu Par . . 

Nalla Tanni Tivu Par . . 

Nalla Tanni Tivu bank . , 

Nalla, fresh ; tanni, water ; 
tiva, island. Nalla Tanni 
Tivu is an island in the 
Zamindari of Eamnad where 
excellent fresh water is 
obtainable from shallow 


Uppatbanni Thivu Par ,. 

Uppu Tanni Tivu Par , . 

Uppu Tanni Tivu bunk .. 

Uppu, Silt. An island close 
to Nalla Tanni Tivu -where 
the wells are brackish. 


Kumuhm Par 

Kumulam Par . , 

Probably this is " the 
• bank abounding in 
hemispherical ". 

Knmulam, a blister-like swell- 
ing, is applied to the hemis- 
pherical masses of Astrreid 
corals so common on certain 
sandy oyster banks. 


Vembar Peria Par 

Vembar Periya Par 

Large bank lying off 
Vembar village. 

Periya, large. 


Vaippar Peria Par 

Vaippar Periya Par . . 

Large bank lying off 
Vaippar village. 



Karai Par . . . . 

Karai Par ., , 

Bank lying towards the 

Karai,. shore. 


Probably "the Rani's 

Devi, a titular suffix to the 
names of the Rani of Eam- 
nad and of Madura ; pri- 
marily tho name of a goddess 
, (Siva's wife). 


Pernandu Par 

Pernandu Par 

Fernando's bank . . , . 

Probably first found by a 
. fisherman of this name. 


Padntha Marikan Par . . 

Padutta Marikan Par . . 

Bank whereon Marikan (a 
Mussalman) was found 
lying (dead). 

Paduitiru, lying down. Mari- 
kan or Marikar appended to 
Muhammadan names is a 

relic of anhonorofie bestowed 

by the Portuguese upon pro- 

minent Muhamniadans. 


Padutha Marikan Par 

Fadutta Marikan Tundu 

The small bank close to 

Tundu, fragment. 



the preceding. 


Taticorin Coda Par 

Tutieorin Kuda Par . . 

The hank off Tuticorin 

Kuda, bay ; primarily a cavity 
or hollow. 


Cruxian Par 

Cruxian Par . , 

Bank of the cross . . 

Kroos 'eiirusu), a corruption of 
the Portuguese Cruz, crosB. 


Cruxian Thunda Par 

Cruxian Tundu Par , . 

Small Cruxian bank 

Tundu, a fragment (small). 


Meaning and derivation of the names of the Principal Ptarl Banks off the Madura Const— cont. 

Names of the Pare as 
they appe ur in the 

Inspection Kcports. 

Names of the Pars in the 

improved orthographic 

forms now recommended 

for adoption. 
















Yantbivu Arupajam Par. 

Nagara Tar 
Ootti Pax . . 

Oodumvi Par . , 


Athuvai Arupajam Par . . 

Athoinbadu Par . . 

Vanlivu Arupigam Tar. , 

Nagara Par 
Utti Par . . 

Pasi Par . . 
Patharan Par 
Kuthadiar Par 
Tholayiram Par .. 

Vadda Ombathu Par 
Saith Ombathu Par 

Puli Pundu Par . . 
Canna Puli Pundu Par 

AHuva Par 

Uduruvi Par ., 

Kilati Par 

Attuvai Ampagam Par 

Attoupatu Par 

Pasi Par 
Pattarai Par 
Kutadiar Par ,. 
Tolajirarn Par . . 

Vada Onpatu Par 
Saith Onpatu Par 

Puji Pundu Par .. 
Kanna Puli Pundu Par 

Alluva Par 

Kanna Thivu Arupajam Kanna Tivu Arupagam 
Par. I Par. 

Thundu Par 
Nenjurichan Par 

Par Kud.njan Par 
Mela Ombathu Par 
Punyacoil Seltan Par 

Sandamaram Puditha Par. 

Tundu Par 
Nenjuricbchan Par 

Par Kundanjan Par 
Mela Onpatu Par 
Pinnacoil Seltan Tar 

Sandamaram Piditta Par. 

Bank oil' Vantivu in six 
fathoms (Vautivu, haid 
while rock island). 

Bank abounding in a fish 

oilled nagara*. 
Snail bank 

Deriv ation and remark; . 

Possibly has reference to a 
cavernous condition of 
the rock, enabling fish 
to pass in and out of the 

Bank abounding in trigger 

' fish. 

Bank near mouth of the 
river in six fathoms. 

9 (fathom) bank off the 


Sea- weed bank ., 

10§ (fathom) bank (?) .. 

Dancer bank (?) 

900 banks 

Northern bank in nine 

Southern bank in nine 


Bank having a tamarind 
bush as land mark. 

Bank having a tamarind 
bu9h as land mark near 
Kanna 'l'ivn. 

Rotten weed bank (?) 

Bank off Kanna Tivu in 
six fathoms. 

Small bank 

Good for nothing bank , . 

Further or outer 9 fathom 

Bank where land mark is 
a tree near a market. 

Aru, 6ix ; pagam, fathom ; 
van, hard. Vanlivu, a 
small island, north i.f Tuti- 
corin on which theie ie . 
small fiohing beaoon ; proba- 
bly so called on aceonnt of 
hard white rock there pie- 

Nagara, the name of a fish. 

Otti or Utti, a snail-like 
mollusc. Probably a (orru;,t 
form of ~Vr\, the name of a 
small spiral shell-fibh (gas. 
tropod) that is an active 
enemy of the pearl oyster 
during the first four mentis 
of life. 

Uduruvi, penetrating or 
leg through. 

Kilati, trigger fish (Tlnlistes 
mitis is the most abundant 
species on this coast.'. 

Attuvai, mouth of a river 
(attu, river ; vai, mouth) 
aru, six ; pagam, fathom. 

Attu, river ; onpatu, nine 
(ombadu, a corrupt form of 

Pasi, sea-weed (literally moss). 

Pattu, ten ; arai, half. 
Kutadian, a dancer. 

Tolayiram, 900. A large bank 
char»cteri7ed by numerous 
Small patches of rock rising 
from a sandy bottom. 

Vada, north. 

Saith, south (a local term 
derived I think from Ponu,- 

Puli, tamarind ; pundu, bush. 


Alluva, rotten (pasi, sea-weed; 

being understood). 
Aru, six ; pagaai, fathom. 

Tundu, piece or fragment, i.e., 

Nenjuriehchan, good for 

nothing, literally " heart har- 

rower " from Nenju, heart ; 

"yrichchan, flayer or peeler. 

Mela, further or distant, outer. 

Pinnacoil, the name of a large 
Paiawa settlement on the 
Tiimevelly coast. Coil from 
Kovil, temple, primarily ; 
now used to signify church 
among Christianized Tamils, 
or it may be a corruption 
of Kayal, which is in the 
vicinity and a much more 
ancient town. 

Sanda, a corrupt form of 
Santai or Chantai, market ; 
maram, tree ; piditta, touch- 
ing, i.e., indicating as does a 
land mark. 


Meaning and derivation of the names of the Principal Pearl Banks off the Madura Coast — cont. 


Names of the Pais as 
they appear in the 

Names of the Pars in the 

improved orthographio 

forms now recommended 


Derivation and remarks. 



Inspection Beports. 

for adoption. 


Ira Thivu Cudamuthu Par. 

Irai Tivu Kudamuttu Par. 

Bank in the Pearl Bay 
near Irai Tivu. 

Irai, literally finger joint, ir:ch ; 
kuda, hay ; muttu, ptarl. 


Nadukudamuthu Par 

Nadu Kudamuttu Par . . 

Bank near the middle of the 
Peail Bay. 

Nada, middle. 


Kovilpuditha Puthu Par. 

KoTil Piditta Pattu Par. 

Bank in 10 fathoms having 
a chinch as the leading 
mark on shore. 

Pattu, ten ; pidi v t/i, touching ; 
kovil, church. 


Sanguria Puthu Par 

Sankuraiya Pattu Par . . 

Bank where depth is a 
foot lets than 10 

San, a span ; kuraiya, lees 
(short of). 


Nilankalla Par . . . . 

Nilan Kallu I'ar 

Blue stone hank 

Nilam, blue : kallu, stone. 


Sethu curia Pathu Par . . 

Sattu Kuraiya Pattu Par. 

Bank a little less than in 
10 fathoms. 

Sattu, a little; kuraiya, less; 
pattu, ten. 


KuHnmuthi Par .. 

Kuda Muttu Par . . 

Pearl Bay hank 

Kuda, bay ; muttu, pearl. 


Kajavukku Sippi Sothieha 

Kajavukku Sippi Sotich- 

Bank searched for oysters 

Kajavukku, for or to a Baja ; 


oha Par. 

for the Baja. 

sotichcha, searched or exa- 
mined ; sippi, oyster. 


Saith Kudamuthi Par rt 

Saith Kuda Mutto Par . . 

South bank in the Pearl 

Saith, south (Portuguese or 
English ?). 


Na-luvu malai Puditha 

Naduvu Malai Piditta Par. 

Bank touching or on the 

Piditta, touching ; Naduvu 


hearing of a peak of the 
Western Ghats. 

malai, Western Ghats (nadu- 
■ vn, central ; malai, hill). 


Peria Malai Puditha Par. 

Periya Malai Piditta Par. 

Bank touching the great 

The Lime-burners' bank. 

Periya, great. 


Kadian Par 

Kadeiyan Par . , 

The Kadaiyar caste is that of 

the lin.e-burners ; it bowevc r 

furnishes a contingent of 

men who work as divers at 

the chank and peail fisheries. 


Kanava Par 

Kanawa Par . . 

Bank abounding in outtle 

Kanawa, cuttle fish. 


Puthu Par 

Putu, new. 


Karia Karwal Par 

Karai Karuwal Par , . 

In-shore black bank . . 

Karuwnl, black ; probably from 
the colour of the Burfaee of 
the lock. 


Velangu Karwal Par 

Velaugu Karuwal Par . . 

Off-shore black bank 

Velangu, further ; karuwal, 


Thnndu Par .. 

Tundu Par 

Small bank . . 

Tundu, fragment. 


Trichendore Punthotta 

Triehendur Puntoddam 

Trichenduo flower garden 

Puntoddam, ilo.ver garden; 




probably so nan.ed on 
account of some preity 
species of sea-weed or other 
marine organism found on 
this bank. 


Odacarai Psr ., 

Oda Karai Par . . ,. 

Narrow bank towards the 

Small Oda karai hank .. 

Odai, narrow ; karai, shore. 


Oda Karai Tundu Par . . 

Vide 46 and 48. 


Chowdi Par 

Chodi Par 

Ornament il bank 

Chodi, to adorn.. 


Sandamacoil Puditha Par. 

Sandamacoil Piditta Par. 

Bank touching St. Mary's 
Church, i.e., where St. 
Mary's Church is the 
principle bearing. 

Sardimacoil, St. Mary's 
Church ; Sandama, holy or 
blessed mother, i.e , St. 
Mary (Sancta Maria; ; 
Kovil, church. 


Theradi Puditha Par . . 

Teradi Piditta Par 

Bank having Triehendur 
pagoda as land mark. 

Ter, car ; teradi place where 
car is kept, i.e , pagoda or 


Semman Paiti Par . . 

Semman Path Par 

Bed hill bank k red hill is 
the bearing^. 

Sem-man, red sand or earth ; 
path, a hill (F). 


Surukku Ombathu Par .. 

Surukku Onpatu Par , . 

Bank falling quickly into 
9 fathoms, i.e., a rapidly 
shelving bank (this is 
the case, it is a narrow 
hank 6^ fathoms deep on 
the west side, 8 fathoms 
deep on the east). 

Ombathu, nine (a corrupt form 
of Onpatu); surukku, quickly, 


Manapad Pcria Par 

Manapad Periya Par 

Large Bank off Manapad. 

Manapad, name of a promon- 
Kanawa, cuttle fish ; parakku, 


Kanawa Paraku Sohi 

Kanawa Pankku Sohi 

The hank of the highly 

Thundu Par. 


coloured flying cuttle 
fish (?). 

flying ; schi, well-dressed or 
adorned (?). 


Paraeherry Par 

Paraeherry Par 

The bank off the Pariah 

Cheri, village ; paraiyan, 
pariah (drummer). 


Paraeherry Pathoor 

Para cherry Pathoor 

10-fathom bank off the 


It is possible that Pathoor is 

(? Pattu Par). 

Pariah village (?). 

a misrendering for Pattu 
Par. I haye had, however, 
no opportunity to examine 
.this region and do not know 
whether the depth is 10 


Alanthalai Pathoor 

Alantalai Pathoor (? 

The 10-fathom bank off 

fathoms or not. JPaitoor 

Pattu Par) 

Alantalai (?). 

may also signify the "10 


Manapad Pathoor 

Manapad Pathoor (? Pattu 

Manapad 10-fathom bank 

villages ", but the context 




does not support this reading. 


Meaninj and derivation of the ni-nes of the P rineipil P&irl B inks off the Madura Coist—coat. 

Names of tho Pars as 
they appeal in the 
InRpoction Kouurts. 

Names of the Pars in the 
improved orthographic 
tortus now reoommeb iod 

for adoption. 

Derivation and remarks. 


Keclee Par 

Hank abjunding in parrot- 

Kill, the name of a unsll fish 


Peru T halui Soman 

Periva Talai Soman 

Bank lying near the 

Peiiya, large; talai, head; 

Tharai Par, 

Tarai Par. 

great head (land} of 
led earth. 

seman, red ; Urai, cauh 
(Latin, terra). 


Soman Pallei Kalhu Par. 

Siman Pillai Katha Par. 

Pos«ib!y this means " tho 
bank guarded by Siman 

Tho bink at the head of Pillai, a man's name. 
Kath.t, guarded by. 


Kodoo Tlialai Par ,. 

Kuda Talai Par 

Kuda, bav ; talai, head. 

tho hay (?) 


Ovareo Anthon ar Kovil 

O.-ari Anthoniar Kovil 

Bank touching St. 

Ovari, the name of a village. 

Pudithft Par. 

Pid.tta Par. 

Anthony's church at 
Ovari, i.e., on the bearing 
of this church. 

Anthoniar kovil, St. 
Anthony's church. 


Ovarc-9 Antt oniar kovil 
Vallai Volai Par. 

Ovari Anthoniar kovil 
Vallai Velai Par. 


• • 

Note on th* system of (7\i?is.!iteration adopted. — 'Ihroughout tliie report I h;ive attempted tote couaiatent in th% 
Uanslit^juUcu of iuuiil nuuiea. The syyteai followed is tutu iD official use in Ceylon. 





As knowledge of the observations made during the May cruises of the S.S. 
"Margarita" is essential to a full understanding of my recommendations, it will 
be convenient if I give the record in the character of a narrative altering as little as 
possible the form in which it stands in my diary. 

No attempt is made to furnish extensive lists of the animals found. Single- 
handed the task is an impossibility, while the limitations of time do not permit the 
reference of the collections to specialists. I have however expended considerable 
time and labour upon the identification of those organisms that are characteristic of 
certain banks — all those that predominate or have special significance are either 
signalized by name or by description. The present identification is sufficient for the 
purposes of comparison ; the rarer and smaller animals may well be left for detailed 
examination at a subsequent period. 

The programme of investigation which I mapped out before leaving Ceylon 
consisted of three main lines — 

(a) The examination of the sea-bottom in the pearl-bank region on the Indian 
side of the Gulf of Mannaar, for the purpose of the institution of both physical and 
biological comparisons between these banks and those with which I am now so 
intimately acquainted on the Ceylon side. 

(b) An enquiry into the present methods in use for the inspection of the banks, 
and the means, if considered necessary, requisite to render the work of inspection 
adequately effective. 

(c) A critical examination of the historical evidence available, inspection and 
fishery reports in particular, in order to ascertain what localities the past records 
demonstrate to be more favourably situated than others for bringing pearl oysters to 

The present section deals almost entirely with the first mentioned of these lines 
of enquiry ; the historical evidence gleaned during the trip is incorporated with other 
data in another section. 

The Ceylon Pearl fishery closed by reason of unfavourable fishing weather on 
April 22nd this year, but in the hope that the Indian coast might enjoy sufficient 
shelter to permit of useful work being done ere the monsoon came on in "full fury, I 
telegraphed my preparedness to Captain Carlyon, the Port Officer of Tuticorin. 
Accordingly on the morning of the 26th, the S.S. " Margarita " arrived at Marichehu- 
kadde under the command of Captain Carlyon who also acts as Superintendent of the 
Indian Pearl Eanks. Some hours were occupied in the transfer of baggage and by 
nightfall we proceeded for Pamban, having in tow three of the Ceylon inspection whale 

A heavy sea prevailed during the passage, rendering it one of much discomfort. 
On arrival at Pamban the next morning, it was decided to make Tuticorin by the 
sheltered passage formed by the string of islands that skirt the coast for the greater 
part of the distance between these two ports. 

Anxious to see the important Muhammadan diving community of Lubbais * 
settled at Kilakarai we put in there on the afternoon of April 27th. Accompanied 
by Captain Carlyon I went ashore and by the courtesy of the Gomez family we were 
enabled to interview the headmen of the divers in their house — Xavier Gomez, who 
had been one of the assistant beach-masters at the Ceylon Fishery, acting as 

* In Ceylon tbeie men »re known at " Moormen." 


The head diver, M. Kirutuneina, who claims to be 70 years old and to hare dived 
from the age of nine, had much to say, but few facts of consequence were elicited ; he 
ami the other elders had never known or heard of mature pearl oysters in quantity on 
any of the Pars between Kilakarai and Painban. The nearest locality they knew of 
was the vicinity of r^allatanni-tivu, and even there they had never seen a bed of 
living oysters, the evidence as regards this locality resting entirely upon the abundance 
of old oyster shells that litter the sand hills of that island. 

In Kilakarai, signs of prosperity were visible everywhere; boat-owners were 
arranging for the building of new craft, their agents gone to Cochin for timber ; 
diver-fishermen were investing in new nets and goldsmiths were busy with orders for 
jewellery for the womenfolk. The talk everywhere was of money, of profits past and 
prospective, individual and collective, and of their determination to send more boats 
and divers to the next year's Ceylon fishery which they were already exploiting in 
imagination ! Incidentally the head diver informed us that as the result of careful 
calculation, the best informed people of the place estimated that this one town had 
brought away from the Ceylon fishery a sum of fully ten lacs of rupees- — the earnings 
of the divers, muuduks, and boatmen, and the profits of the pearl merchants and 
boutique keepers —a sum equal to the gross proceeds received by the Ceylon Government 
from their share of the fishery. 

This year the high profits made at the Ceylon fishery were doubly welcome as 
being unexpected, news having been universally circulated at the end of last year (1903) 
that, as the result of the November inspection of the banks had proved disappointing, 
no fishery would take place. 

The Kilakarai men are the best and most reliable of the local divers who attend 
the pearl fisheries of the Gulf of Mannar. Their abstemious lives consequent upon 
fairly faithful observance of the Prophet's laws, predispose to health and regularity of 
working and while more industrious than the Roman Catholic Parawa divers they also 
make better use of their earnings than do the latter, who, I am assured on all sides — 
even by their own people — dissipate their fishery gains within a month or six weeks of 
their return home. Indeed I was told subsequently in Tuticorin, that the great 
majority of the Parawas will do little or no work till they have got rid of their 
earnings in drink and in entertainments and are penniless once again. 

A small settlement of Parawas, dominated as usual by a whitewashed Roman 
Catholic Church, is sot within circumscribed limits on the seaward margin of the town 
of Kilakarai. Few physical differences that cannot be accounted for by the great 
divergence between their modes of life can be noted between them and their Lubbai 
neighbours and I incline to the belief that in the Kilakarai Muhammadans we have 
the descendants of Tamil fisher converts to Islam, just as the Parawas have become 
Roman Catholics. Indeed 1 cannot help thinking that the Parawas and Kilakarai 
Lubbais are identical in origin, but in the absence of anthropometric measurements 
the point cannot be settled definitely. 

Leaving Kilakarai the next morning we proceeded direct to Tuticorin, landing 
there on the afternoon of April 28th. 

The ensuing three days were spent in completing the necessary preparations for 
work at sea, getting coal and water aboard the steamer, and, on my part, in interview- 
ing every resident in any way likely to have shrewd opinions based upon local 
intimacy with the pearl bank region and in comparing and abstracting the information 
oontained in the fishery and inspection records. Unfortunately the latter are all of 
comparatively recent date, none going back to the period of the Dutch occupation — a 
lacuna which I was subsequently able to fill in great part by -the collation and collec- 
tion of references which occur incidentally in various and diverse publications. 

The Government records give the names of over 60 pars which are reckoned as 
potential oyster banks. Reference to charts A and B in the appendix, shows that 
the majority are massed offshore between Tuticorin and Trichendur in from 6 to 10 
fathoms of water. This region includes practically all the banks that have yielded 
fisheries during the present century and accordingly it was decided to make our first 
eruise over the area thus indicated. 


Tolayiram Par. — Accordingly on May 2nd we left Tuticorin at 6-30 a.m. and 
proceeded to the south end of the Tolayiram Par, about 8 miles to the east of Hare 
island. There we commenced the examination, the day's work extending over the 
southern half of the bank, with traverses extending some distance beyond the charted 
margin. This bank, which yielded fisheries in 1784, 1787, 1S07, 1810, 1822, 1830, 
1S89 and 1890, has generally been considered one of the most favourable for rearing 
oysters to maturity, and to be fully the equal of any other bank in respect to the 
number of spat falls reported upon it during the past half century. 

It possesses by far the largest area of any productive Indian bank, its charted 
outline being 7 miles long with a width varying from one mile to two miles. The 
depth varies from 8 to 11 fathoms. Our examination showed the bank to consist of 
a somewhat uneven, but not rugged, rocky framework rendered level by the accumula- 
tion of sand in the depressions. Here and there the rock shows bare save for a thin 
veil of sand, but the greater part is covered by sand varying from 1 and 2 inches to 
6 inches and a foot in depth. 

The sandy bottom appears to the divers as broken up by a multitude of rocky 
outcrops usually of limited extent and from this circumstance we may infer the origin 
and propriety of the name " Tolayiram," literally " nine hundred ". 

The surface of the bank shows considerable local diversity — both physical and 
faunistic. In some places a rocky surface sprinkled lightly with sand bears loose 
blocks of calerete (recently formed rock) of varying size ; elsewhere fragments of 
Madrepore coral branches, corroded and water-worn, lie loose, here sparsely scattered, 
there abundant. In other places deep sand, bare of any life, largely preponderates. 
Variation in every proportion is represented. 

The sand is altogether different from that on the Ceylon side. Instead of being 
clean large-grained quartz grit, as there, the sand of the Tolayiram par is fine in 
grain, the angles well rounded ; chemically it is composed principally of calcium 
carbonate — comminuted shell fragments in the main. 

In colour it is yellowish brown and there is always associated with it a certain, 
though variable, amount of mud particles, which rise with every movement upon the 
bottom — the scramble of the divers, the under-tow of strong currents. 

The majority of the diving descents made upon the bank proper showed the 
greater part of the area examined to be thickly covered with young oysters from one 
month to six months old, those of three to four months of age preponderating. The 
sizes varied from 10x I0|x3| millimetres to 24x22x8^ millimetres. The weight 
of 100 individuals of average size was 99 - 65 grammes. 

The general facies of the bank approximates closely to that of the Ceylon Periya 
par — a bank noted for the frequence of spat falls upon it ; both are of great extent 
and of diversified character and both lie all but out of sight of land towards the edge 
of soundings. Great quantities of young oysters were found on the Ceylon bank 
named in March last, practically of the same age as those on the Tolayiram par, but 
on the whole the abundance was distinctly less on the latter bank, while the sand 
leaves less extent of rock exposed. 

Considerable destruction of the young oysters was apparent, and large numbers 
of empty shells were found. Of the latter a small proportion, 1 in 14, bore evidence 
in the presence of circularly bored holes, to destruction by small carnivorous 
gastropod molluscs (belonging to the genera Purpura, Nassa and Sistrum) termed 
TJri by the divers. The great majority, however, furnished no indication to show 
by what agency death had been caused. Consideration of what the chief harmful 
factor is and how it acts will be dealt with when we deal with the conclusions. 

Characteristic organisms are few in number ; sponges predominate, the black 
crests of Spongionella nigra being frequent wherever the sand thins away. The pink 
Petrosia testudinaria is also common, its truncate massive pile increasing the resem- 
blance to a miniature volcano by possessing a crater-shaped excavation upon the 
summit. Other massive but less conspicuous species are equally abundant, and in 
some cases, I found the rapid growth of these sponges entailing the destruction of 
many young oysters, enwrapping and smothering them, as evidenced by the empty 
shells embedded in the sponge mass. Axinella donnani is occasionally met with. 


Corals were scarce. Occasionally locally-isolated colonies, usually small in size, 
were found, nearly all being Pontes, Meandrina. and Astrseids. 

Still less common were Aleyonarians, represented by Sarcophyton sp. Vermetus 
was common on the fragments of calcrete, and the lovely star-fish, Pentaccros b'ncki, 
a known enemy of tbo pearl oyster, was present iu considerable numbers. Linckia 
laevigata was also taken, with Anledon puloiata in crevices of the exposed rock. 
Little or no algae was present. 

In our traverses zig-zag across the bank we several times passed beyond the margin 
of the par on the westward side, finding there bare and barren sand with an occasional 
chank (Turbinella rapa). 

After completing the day's work we anchored on the south end of the pdr in nine 
fathoms, and within an hour the crew had caught 16 Kilati (Trigger- fishes, Balishs 
mitis). Several were examined and in the stomachs of all were found fragments of 
several kinds of shells, those of young pearl oysters predominating in many. 

The Parmandadai or " Eoek-pilot " who is taken out by the Inspector to help in 
locating the banks informed me that this bank has always been noted for the great 
abundance of Kilati ; one ballam usually brings back a catch of 100 fish from this 

During the day the current set strongly from the north, the steamer drifting 
rapidly when not steaming. The temperature of the sea at 7 a.m. was 87° F. and at 
5 p.m. 3S° F. The specific gravity was 1,022-80 at 7 a.m. 

The following morning, May 3rd, on heaving the anchor up, IS pearl oysters 
approximately 6 weeks old, all being of the same size, were found attached to the 
chain near the anchor end, each by several strands ol byssus. All were attached to 
that part of the chain which would occasionally rest upon the ground — the last two 
fathoms. It is noteworthy that none of the older sizes were found on the chain, 
although varying ages were found on this spot. 

Uti Par Group. — This region comprising Uti, Nagara, TJduruvi, Kilati, Atu- 
vaiarpagam and Pattarai Pars was next examined first by means of diving traverses 
on May 4th and on the ensuing day by the method of circle inspection as used on the 
Cevlon side and which is described in detail infra on page 75. 

The pars in this group are small and with advantage may be considered as one, 
under the above title — Uti Par Group. The depth is less than the mean on the 
Tolayiram, averaging here from 7 to 8| fathoms. 

In all, nearly 350 dives were made in the course of an examination by circle 
inspection — a method described fully on page 74. 

The centre of the circle was fixed at a point which Captain Carlyon believed from 
the bearings to lie just on the east margin of the Uti par, but that bank the par 
mandadai said was really to the south-east. The results proved the latter to be right 
and the Inspector to be wrong, a false position for the latter to occupy and one that 
is due entirely to the fact that no shore marks are indicated on the chart in use. No 
Inspector can be expected to do good work under present conditions. 

The matter presents no difficulties ; the landmarks, which consist of Hare Island 
Lighthouse, the factory chimneys at Tuticorin and the beacon on Vantivu, are clearly 
distinguishable from these banks, and I should think the Survey office could, from 
the materials already available plot the position of the several objects with exactitude 
and without further survey. 

The whole of the Uti pdr was gone over together with the southern portion of the 
Nagara par, the result showing that but a few odd living oysters remain, aged from 
2\ to 3 years old and all more or less over-grown with sponges and other growths, 
In several cases the largest and most frequent of these crusting sponges, the brick-red 
Otathria indica, completely enveloped the oysters, occupying the whole surface of both 
-valves and rising in numerous bold upgrowths to a height of two and three inches. 


The pars constituting the Eti group have absolute identity in fauna and in 
physical characteristics. The rock of each par is fairly continuous in its outcrop with 
much less sand sprinkled over it than in the case of the Tolayiram Par. To some 
extent as a consequence of this the fauna is richer in the number of species, in the 
number of individuals, and in luxuriance of growth. 

Sponges are especially abundant. Among the most characteristic are the black- 
crested Spongionella nigra, one specimen of which was partly mantled with a thin 
crust of crimson-lake Botrjlloid; purple-red Siphonochalina communis (Carter) bearing 
frequently a like-tinted Antedon, clinging to its tubular branches ; the massive 
Suierites inconstant and the oyster-crusting Clathria indica. 

Several of these sponges, notably Siphonoahalina and Suierites, furnish free 
quarters to quite a host of diverse lodgers — chief among which are a colourless Alpheus, 
a scarlet Porcellana, a small Cebia and a long armed spiny Ophiuroid (Ophiactis 
savignii). The last named chiefly affects the large canals of the Sulsrites, more 
rarely being found within Siphonochalina. Gelia burrows in the smaller canals of the 
Suierites, while the Alpheus and Porcellana favour Sipho?iochali?ia much more than 
they do Suierites, probably because their superior activity enjoys greater freedom in 
the larger and less tortuous cavities of the former sponge. 

Corals and Gorgonoids are scarce, the handsome Juncella juncea being the only 
conspicuous representative found. 

Specially characteristic are enormous numbers of the branched parchment-like 
tubes of a fine Eunicid {E. tulifex, Crossland). The empty tubes were made known 
to science years ago by Professor Mcintosh from material received from Dr. E. 
Thurston, Superintendent of the Madras Museum, but it is only in the present year 
(1904) that the animal has been described and named. Quite a host of smaller 
creatures settle upon the surface of the tubes — hydroid zoophytes, polyzoa, and 
compound ascidians, together with an occasional Lepas of a species not yet identified. 
The last named is of interest in that in colour and outline its appearance approximates 
so closely to a branch of the Eunicid tube that this may be regarded as a striking 
case of mimicry or protective adaptation to environment. 

Colonial masses of the delicate calcareous tubes of Filograna were met with and 
numerous species of the usual errant worms. 

Of Echinoderms, Ophiuroids, Antedon spp., and P. linchi were abundant. Many of 
the Antedon appeared, as already noted, to be commensal (?) upon sponges and upon 
Gorgonoids, while commensal in turn with Antedon I found Decapods and Ophiuroids — 
the former consisting of a small striped crab and a striped Galatheid, the latter of a 
small, short-armed black Ophiuroid upon an Antedon of the same hue. 

Small Cephalopods (Polypus spp.) were numerous ; polyzoa and tunicates were 

Occasional individuals of a large Pinna sp. were found lying prone on the rock 
and much enveloped with sponge and tunicate growth, barnacles and the like ; some 
bore pearl oysters of about one year old. 

To the west of the Eti group of pars a large chank-bed is marked. Here we 
found rock to be practically absent with a corresponding absence of the faunistic 
elements noted above. In their place were quantities of chanks (Turlinella rapa) and 
of Pinna shells. The former were mostly small as is to be expected, this being a 
recognised chank-bed and within easy reach of Tuticorin. Many of the Pinna were 
dead shells ; these that were alive were, as is usual on sandy ground, embedded deeply 
in the sand. Both dead and living bore quantities of large barnacles (Balanus sp.). 

The rock is of somewhat variable composition, varying from a compact brown 
limestone, similar to that of the Tolayiram Par, to rock of a distinctly quartzose 
nature ; the angular quartz grains were embedded in a brown calcareous matrix — a 
quartzose limestone. The sand of the chank-bed is similar to the component material 
of the par, but containing an appreciably greater amount of recognisable shell 

After completion of the inspection of the Eti Par region, we proceeded south on 
the afternoon of May 4th in the face of a stiff breeze and heavy sea, anchoring at 
5 30 p.m. off Pinnaeoil in the shelter afforded by the reef off Kayalpattanam point. 



Pinnacoil is one of the bead-quarters of the Parawa caste and a noted Roman 
Catholic centre. Here St. Francis Xavior laboured with great effect and of the four 
churches which render the town conspicuous from the sea one is conuected by legend 
with this great missionary's ministrations. It is of Pinnacoil that de Faria y Souza 
records that (circa. A.D. 1560) the Viceroy of India u sailed to the Island Mannar, 
where he built a fort and translated thither the inhabitants of Pimicale to redeem 
them from the tyranny of the Nayque, who would fleece them there — Emmanuel 
Ptodrigues Continho was left to command there and. with him some Franciscans and 
Jesuits, all satisfied with the equal distribution the Viceroy made of all things." * 

A Casuarina-tope is a conspicuous feature of the laudscape about two miles south 
of the town and were its position fixed with accuracy upon the chart it would form 
a useful and much-needed landmark during the inspection of the pearl banks. 

The Jati Talaivan has informed me that an old pearl-fishery camp at one time was 
situated just south of the trees of the tope as evidenced by this place being now 
called Silavaturai kadu (jungle), the site having now reverted to jungle. 

Karuwal Group. — The next morning au oily calm prevailed with current 
running from the north. We steamed south-east with the intention of examining 
the group of banks lying off Trichendur and of which the Velangu and Karai Karuwal 
Pars are the central and among the most importaut, having given fisheries more 
frequently during the past century than any other section of the pearl banks, with 
the single exception of the Tolayiram Par f. 

At 8 a.m. the four inspection boats were cast off to the south-west of the 
Velangu Karuwal Par at a point due east of Trichendur Pagoda. The boats were 
ranged in line abreast, a quarter of a mile separating the individual boats and the 
coxswains were instructed to follow the steamer taking dives at regular and frequent 
intervals and preserving their respective distances apart. We then steamed three 
miles north by west and anchored on the west side of the Naduvu Malai Piditta Par 
in 9 \ fathoms, the current still running strong from the north and the wind 
remaining southerly. 

When the boats arrived, it was found that only the two on the west of the line 
had crossed over the pars, the others being too much to the east and traversing 
ground which was almost entirely bare sand. The results obtained showed the rock 
and sand to be of the same characters as the bottom on the Uti Par region ; in some 
places upon rooky ground a considerable amount of Orbitolites sand was found and in 
other places the sand was coarse enough to be considered a gravel. The fauna was in 
its main characteristic features similar to that of the Uti Par — sponges were abundant 
and of similar species and, in addition, several specimens of the spherical crimson 
Axinella tubulaia were obtained, containing the usual quota of commensals — Oligochaete 
worms and Gephyreans. 

Of corals we found Favia sp. forming rounded masses 5 to 8 inches in diameter. 
The tubes of Eunice tuhifex were again common together with I'entaceros lincki, 
Aniedon, Ophiuroids and many Polyzoa, the most conspicuous of the lastnamed 
being dense hydroid-like colonies of Scrupocellaria sp. over 3 inches in height. Little 
seaweed was found but Padina commersoni was sometimes fairly common together with 
some bunches of C'odium tomentosum. On Naduvu Malai Par small nullipore balls 
(Lithotliamnion) were locally abundant on certain of the sandy stretches. Pinna and 
live coral were absent from the ground examined this day. 

The sandy ground to the west of the pdrs yielded numerous chanks and many 
valves of sand-loving Lamellibranchs (Mactra, etc.), the sand itself being of the 
usual brown calcareous nature, of fine grain and with comparatively little quartz, 

A few living oysters were found on the Naduvu Malai Par aged from 2| to 3 
years together with many dead shells of about the same age, largely on sandy bottom. 
As in the Uti Par region the majority of the shells were enveloped in a covering of 
sponge (Claihria indica). 

♦ "History of the discovery and conquest of India" translated by J. Stevens, 1695, and quoted in the Ceylou 
Monthly Literary Register, Volume III, N.S., p. 199. 

t The Karuwa Pars were fished in 1805, 1815 and 1SC2. 


The landmarks for the Karuwal Par region are excellent. To the south 
Manapad lighthouse is conspicuous, due east is the lofty piJe of Trichendur 
Pagoda while to the north-west is the white mosque near Kayalpattanam village and a 
Casuarina tope to the south of Pinnacoil, to say nothing of a white gabled Eomau 
Catholic Chapel at or adjacent to Kayalpattanam point. Unfortunately the three 
latter are not marked upon the chart and as the Inspector was uncertain as to whether 
the tope is on an island or on the mainland and as to the exact relative positions of 
the chapel and the point named, the difficulties which I experienced in localizing the 
boundaries and positions of the pars were great and distracting. 

Prom what I have seen already and from the silent evidence afforded by the 
charts on which the marks are either not placed or are indicated vaguely and without 
precision I am convinced that the work of inspection for years past has been carried 
out without that scrupulous exactitude necessary to obtain satisfactory and reliable 

Inner Kttdahuttu Par Group. — This group, consisting of the Saith Kudamuttu, 
Kudamuttu, Rajavukku Sippi Sotiehcha, Sandamaran Piditta, Pinnacoil Seltan and a 
few other small pars was examined on May 6th, the steamer accompanied by the four 
inspection boats, two on either side proceeding slowly from one end to the other, the 
divers descending to the bottom at regular intervals. 

The ground upon the pars appeared less favourable to the maturing of pearl 
oysters than that of the Karuwal group. Competing organisms were in greater 
numbers and more luxuriant in growth ; the banks were typically " dirty ", using the 
term in the oysterman's sense of being pre-occupied by organisms, sponges especially, 
which give no opportunity to the well-being of oyster spat settling thereon. 

A few old oysters apparently 2 to 2| years old were found, less than half a dozen 
in number, together with some of a younger generation, 9 to 1 months old. The 
majority of both ages were, as usual, densely covered with sponge growth (Olaihria 
indica). Dead shells of the younger generation were in quantity in some places. 
Death in many eases had been recent and the majority of these showed distinct signs 
of having been bitten, pieces having been snipped out of the ventral margin suggest- 
ive of damage by oyster-eating fishes, which were found notably numerous here, 
seven Kilati (Batistes milis) being caught by the No. 4 boat which traversed the 
greatest extent of rocky bottom, while in the evening after anchoring, several large 
Yellamin [Letkrinus sp.), noted devourers of shell fish, were taken together with more 

Although we found no pearl oysters in quantity, the work of the boats showed 
that the ground to the east of this group and between it and the Sankuraiya Pattu 
Par group is excellent ehank ground and should be marked as a chank-bed on the 
chart. It will probably be found to extend also some distance northwards. The 
chank-bed sand was excellent of its kind — fine grained and very dark in colour, due 
to the presence of mud and organic particles and so forming an excellent feeding 
ground to the annelids which constitute the favourite food of the chank. 

Seaweeds were common on these pars, principally Pudina and the lamellar olive 
brown fucoid so characteristic of the Ceylon Periya Par. 

The characteristic fauna consists of — 

Spongionella nigra, Suberites inconstans, Clathria indica, Axinella lubulata and 
Siphonochalina (with the usual commensals) as the most conspicuous and numerous 
sponges ; a coarse form of the decalcifying sponge Clione, making burrows of large 
size, is also conspicuous in the blocks of dead corals occasionally met with. 

Eunice tubifex, Trophonia and many small Polynoids and Serpulids, with 
Gephyreans and Nemertines. 

Dromia sp., Alpheus sp., Gebia sp., Squills sp. and numerous other small 

Pentaceros lincki was present in quantity with an occcasional Linclcia miliaris., 
and numerous Antedon spp. and Ophiuroids. 

Iso Pinna was taken either on the sand or the rock, 

.Ascidians were scantv in number. 


The par is flat surfaced and in places discontinuous, varying from quartzose 
limestone to compact and extremely hard, brown, and purely calcareous rock. The 
loose fragments numerous iu certain localities are either of the latter character or are 
masses of dead coral much tunnelled by boring molluscs and sponges. From the 
absence of live coral ou these pars, I am of opinion that in commou with the loose 
broken coral branches (" chullai or challai " as the Tamil divers term the latter) these 
fragments are derived from inshore reefs, of which a long one stretches northwards, 
parallel with the coast, from Tiruchendiir to Pinnacoil. 

May 7th was spent in making traverses over the two groups of pars lying south- 
west of the Tolayiram Par — an inner, which we may term the Puli Pundu group, 
and an outer, or Nenjurichehan group. The ground between and around was also 

Pcli Pundu Group. — This collection of small pars, comprising the Kanna Puli 
Pundu Par, Puli Pundu Par, Saith Onpatu Par and Vada Onpatu Par lie close 
together and agree in all essential characteristics, in the depth of water, which ranges 
from 7f to 8| fathoms, in the identity shown by the organisms found there, and in 
the physical nature of the rock forming the bottom. For the practical purposes of 
inspection aud fishery they may be considered as a single unit. They agree exactly 
in all particulars with the pars forming the Uti Par group, except that at the present 
examination no pearl oysters were found. 

Nknjurichchan Group. — Yery different are the banks which I propose to unite 
under the term Nenjuriehchan group. The constituent banks are the Par Kun- 
danjan, Kenjurichchan and Mela Onpatu Pars with a depth ranging from 7f to 8^ 
fathoms. These pars, although in almost the same depth of water as those of the 
Puli Pundu group, bear a fauna more characteristic of deep water conditions, 
Gorgonia miniacea, Sulerogorgia suberosa, with mrmerous examples of Jvncella jiuicea 
being characteristic. As usual, on these banks massive sponges are numerous, mostly 
dark coloured, and the rock, instead of being covered with ordinary sand, is sprinkled 
freely with large foraminifera (Orbitoliies and Heterosiegina) ; the rock is flat in surface 
and both in appearance and in fauna bears much resemblance to the seaward side of 
the Ceylon Muttuvaratu Par. 

Both to the west, the east, and the south-east of this group we have a great 
extent of sandy ground extremely rich in life, characterised by the presence of varied 
forms of Alcyonarians. Conspicuous among these last are a rosy tinted aborescent 
Pennatulid, a grey and drab Pennatula sp. and a slender Virgularia {V.juncea), the 
first named anchored by a branching root-like base, the two latter by a long and 
deeply embedded axis. 

Equally characteristic is a stout lamellar and fan-shaped dark green Alga which 
passes below into a bulbous base embedded deeply in the sand ; the projecting fan- 
shaped portion measures in many cases as much as 5 inches across ; the bulbous base 
from 6 to 8 inches in length, stiffened by a large admixture of sand entangled among 
the ramifying filaments of the Alga. 

That peculiar Ascidian, Rhabdocynthia rosea, is another characteristic organism. 

Small crustaceans, molluscs and burrowing worms are also noteworthy, with a 
varying number of ehauks. 

After examining this region we proceeded N.N.W. from Par Kundanjan Par 
which brought us to the region immediately south-west of the Tolayiram Par. Here 
we found considerable quantities of small oysters lying in clusters upon sand ; the age 
appeared to be from three to four months and, besides the living, a considerable quantity 
of dead shells were found. A few of the latter showed signs of having been bored by 
carnivorous Gastropods and others were broken, possibly by the bites of some fish. 
This, however, is somewhat doubtful and the majority showed no apparent signs of 
what the cause of death had been. 

The nuclei of the clusters were in the main the spicular Ascidian Rhabdocynthia 
rosea ; in a few cases only was it a shell, a fragment of par or of dead coral. In many 
a nucleus was absent, the little oysters clinging to the shells of one another. Every- 
where there was a marked scarcity of " cultch " (shells and rock fragments). 


The sand was clean and in some places contained a larger proportion of quartz 
grains than at any other place hitherto examined. Pennatula sp. and Virgularia 
juncea were fairly common as was also the flat ecbinoid Clypeaster humilis. A few 
Pentaceros lincki and Fungia dentata were also met with. 

From this position we went west, traversing the area indicated on the chart as a 
large cbank bed. Here the sand became fine, dark in colour and slightly muddy. 
Zigzagging over this 16 dives were made, giving uniform results regarding the 
character of the sand and the organisms characterising it, numerous small chanks, 
small Pinna sp. and rooted fan-alga?. 

Our supply of water was by this time almost exhausted ; so, after completing the 
examination of tbis cbank bed, the " Margarita " was headed for Tuticorin where we 
arrived the same afternoon. 

The tsvo next days I spent ashore in a further examination of records and in 
gathering local opinions, which I hold should never be treated with indifference. A 
mean has to be steered between the extremes of credulous faith and scornful contempt, 
and if tbe sifting be judicious the stories and opinions of fishermen and divers may 
often furnish useful hints of considerable importance in drawing deductions and in 
furnishing the necessary clue to elucidate some difficulty or apparent contradiction. 

A studv of the significance and origin of place names may also furnish consider- 
able assistance, and the Jati Talaivamore, whose title is frequently rendered as Jati 
Talaivan, was fortunately able and willing to facilitate my task. 

I nder Captain Carlyon's kind guidance I was enabled also to examine tbe 
godown in which the cbanks collected by divers on Government account are stored 
pending tbe periodical auction sale. 

Tbis store is situated about a mile north of the town at a spot conveniently near 
the shore, on land that once was a salt marsh. 

Tbe great majority of the shells were of medium size ; quite a large number 
bore a cluster of young oysters, two to six months old, upon the upper whorls of the 
shell. In one case 11 young oysters bad been so carried — a fact bespeaking both the 
abundance of oyster spat during the last six months and the poverty of resting places 
for the attachment of the spat at the end of the free-swimming stage. 

Chanks of a size too small to be paid for, formed a heap of quite respectable 

The " Margarita" left Tuticorin on her second cruise at 7 a.m. on May 10th. 
The weather showed signs of impending change and on that account I was extremely 
anxious to ascertain at once the condition of the northern pars in order to compare 
with that of the southern groups with which I had now obtained a fairly satisfactory 
acquaintance. I decided therefore to devote this cruise to an examination of the 
banks between Kilakarai and Tuticorin. 

Cruxiax Group. — Of these banks tbe three southernmost, the Vantivu Arupagani 
Par, the Cruxian Par and the Cruxian Tundu Par, may conveniently be grouped 
together as the Cruxian group. 

They have long been classed among the banks from which a fishery may from 
time to time be expected * and accordingly, although they cover a comparatively small 
area, I made a specially exhaustive examination first by a traverse from end to end 
by the four inspection boats strung out inline at quarter mile intervals as usual and 
upon the completion of this, by causmg them to make four circles round the ship 
when at anchor upon the centre of the most important of the group — the Cruxian Par 

At 8 a.m. a half knot current was running from the north 3 with wind from N.W.; 
temperature of water 89° F.;, specific gravity 1,022'80. 

Besides the work done by the divers in the boats who made in all 250 descents, 
a large number of check dives was made from the steamer. These, when compared 
with results obtained from the boats, showed the three pars to have a distinct and 
characteristic facies of their own, and pointed to the practical advisability of uniting 
the three under one head both on account of faunistic and of physical identity. 

'■ Th-6 Cruxian group gave gatisfaotory results at tbt fishery of 1861. 


The rocky ground was flat-surfaced and largely continuous ; the sand}' stretches 
found on and between the pars was never deep, scarcely ever exceeding a depth of 3 
inches, and in consequence, individuals of the large species of Piuua, which is here 
characteristically abundant, are exposed for fully live-sixths of their length, only the 
apex being embedded in the sand. Quite a large proportion were dead shells. 

Crowds of large Barnacles {Balanus sp.) aud Zoophytes occupy the outer surfaces 
of the valves as well of the living as of the dead, the cavities of those barnacles that 
are dead harbouring great numbers of small crustaceans and worms. 

A favourable feature of these pars is the absence of an excessive amount of 
sponges. Such as there were of the larger forms consisted principally of the massive 
Suberites ineonstans and the cavernous Siphonoclialina communis. In the former, 
besides the usual species of Gebia, were several of an interesting heteronereid form of 
Nereis. The tall, branched tubes of Eunice lubifex were met with wherever rock 
appeared on the surface. 

A characteristic organism is a Botrylloides sp. which forms grey gristly-looking 
rounded masses of 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Algae were scant in quantity. 

The depth of the water over these pars shows great regularity, ranging within 
the limits of half a fathom, 6 to 6| fathoms. 

The only signs of pearl oysters consisted of occasional dead valves, old and much 
corroded and of an age which I would fix approximately at 2~ years. They had the 
appearance of having been dead several years. 

A few chanks were found on the sand outside the eastern margin of the pars, 
where the sand is fine and largely calcareous in composition. 

From 9-r>0 to 11-15 a.m. an oily calm prevailed, the surface of the sea covered 
as far as the eye could see with a brown scum composed of Trichodesmium erythrceum. 
Its appearance and to some extent its effects were such as a thin film of oil produces 
when spread upon water. 

We remained at anchor till the next morning near the middle of the Cruxian 
Par. A strong southerly swell prevailed the whole night and as a land wind blew 
with some force from the N.W. the ship rolled heavily making sleep practically 

At 7 a.m. on May 11th we proceeded northwards after casting off the four inspec- 
tion boats, which were ordered to examine the ground lying between the Cruxian Par 
and the most southerly of the next group to be examined — the Marikan Par group — 
and then to pass northwards over the whole extent of the latter pars. 

The steamer led the way dropping a mark buoy on what was believed to be the 
south side of the Padutta Marikan Tundu Par, as a guide to the following boats. We 
then headed north and anchored on the Devi Par. 

The boats reported continuous sand after passing the northern edge of the 
Cruxian Par, both between the two groups and along the line which should have led 
them over the Marikan Par group of banks — an unsatisfactory result due either to the 
plotting of the cross-bearings being incorrect or to the pars being incorrectly placed 
upon the chart. I incline to believe that the former explanation is the true one, 
seeing that the Inspector, although the shore-marks are distinct and clearly visible, 
has not the position of these marks indicated upon his chart. Eough and inexact 
work is the inevitable consequence. 

Vaipar Karai Pae. — The next day, May 11th, after ascertaining that the ground 
in 6| fathoms, two miles east of outer Chullai Island, consisted of fine sand mixed with 
a considerable amount of mud, we proceeded towards the south-east and anchored 
upon Vaipar Karai Par in 6| fathoms in order that I might make a descent in the 
diving dress. 

When I alighted upon the bottom I found the water so turbid with suspended 
mud particles that it was impossible to ascertain what lay underfoot save by crawling 
on hands and knees, and even then I had to bring the helmet window within two 
inches of the ground. By so doing I found the bottom to be composed of fine calcare- 
ous sand commingled with a considerable proportion of muddy sediment. The surface 
was littered with numerous dead pearl oyster shells both entire and fragmentary, and 


was underlaid at a depth of from ] to 2 inches by flat- surfaced rock. On the least 
disturbance the mud constituents rose in dense clouds further obscuring vision. 
Ko recognisable reason for the death of pearl oysters could be traced; their 
average age was approximately 1|- year. Only a single iudividual was found alive ; 
it appeared rather older than those that were dead, with the valves covered with 
a dense coating of tunicates, sponges and ipolyzoa ; it had a distinctly stunted 
appearance. I also came across a considerable number of large Pinna lying prone on 
the surface, covered as in the case of those found the day previous, with quantities 
of large barnacles {Balanus sp.) together with a mantling of various species of Lepto- 
clinids and several species of Zoophytes. Several massive corals of the kinds usually 
associated with pearl banks were noticed. 

This bank, which is not marked upon the inspection chart dated 28th November 
1892, by the bearing should lie between the Vaipar Periya Par and Pernandu Par as 
shown on that chart, but concerning this position there appears to be some doubt as 
the par-mandadai (native pilot) who accompanied us held that in reality it lies to 
the north-west of the Devi Par. 

From the character of the bottom such view is not unlikely to prove correct, for 
however carefully angular bearings be taken, the imperfections of the present working 
chart hinder them from being plotted thereon with accuracy. * 

The Yaipar Earai Par is an exceptionally dirty and muddy bank, wholly different 
from the Cruxian Par and associated banks. From what I saw and also from the 
history of the banks it appears, however, to be rather favourably situated for the 
deposit of spat and appears to be fitted to bear them till they reach from 1 to 1~ 
years old, after which age they rapidly die off. Such a bank would be a fitting ono 
to utilize as a source from which to obtain young oysters were oyster transplantation 
ever to be attempted. 

In the afternoon a heavy squall came on suddenly from the west-south-wesr, 
raising a heavy sea. The wind remained iu the same quarter all night and the next 
morning the sea was so rough and the ship rolling so considerably as to render it 
impossible for me to make further diving descents. A native diver who went down 
reported the water too thick to permit him to see anything. After waiting a while 
in the hope that the weather would moderate, we proceeded to 

Nalla Tanxi Tivu, anchoring off the west shore. Here we landed soon after to 
verify, if possible, the presence of the oyster shells reported to us by the divers at 
Zilakarai. Ifuch of the island consists of sand dunes overlaying a coral formation 
in which can be traced specimens of corals of the same species as those now living 
upon the adjoining and encircling reef. The island is farmed under the zamindari of 
Eamnad and several flourishing plantations of casuarina, cocoanut and palmyra were 
here found. We searched the sand dunes on the western side carefully and in several 
places we certified the presence of large quantities of pearl oyster valves, both entire 
and fragmentary ; {he nacre was undimmed in the case of many and even the mottled 
prismatic outer coating was intact in some, showing even the characteristic radiating 
purplish-brown bands distinctly. These shells certainly represent the remains 
of a fishery camp held here, when, it is impossible to say from anything in the 
outward appearance of the shells, as they might remain unchanged and uncorroded 
for an indefinite period when covered with sand in the comparatively dry climate of 
this locality. 

The age of these shells when fished was, judging from the breadth of the hinge 
groove, not less than 4| years, possibly five years. 

There is no record of any fishery camp having been held here under British or 
Dutch control, and it has been suggested as probable that these shells on Nalla Tanni 
Tivu represent a fishery held by one of the Ramnad Rajas. This theory may, however, 
be dismissed at once as untenable, for we have no evidence that these local potentates 
ever claimed the right to fish pearl oysters in this district, though the zamindari does 

* The compas3 bearings were to fix owing to the heavy and continuous roiling of the ship. As near as they 
could be made out they were — 

Hare Island Lighthouse, S. 57° W. 
Church Gable, Tntioorin, S. 70° W. 
>.orth end, Chullai island, N. 17° W. 


maintain the right to rent out the local chank fishery at the present day ; while we have 
direct and overwhelming evidence that both the Portuguese and the Dutch, over a 
period of nearly three centuries, exercised the sole sovereignty over the whole of the 
pearl fisheries on both sides of the Gulf of Mannar. 

The more probable explanation is that these shells represent the remains of a 
Portuguese pearl fishery camp located here circa 1500-1570, during the period when 
the Portuguese, at war with the Nayak, blockaded the Madura Coast and removed the 
Parawas from Tuticorin and Pinnacoil to settlements in the islands at the head of the 
Gulf of Mannar. This particular island of Nalla Tanni Tivu would be the natural loca- 
tion of a camp to serve a fishery off the Indian Coast under such circumstances, as it is 
the nearest one affording a satisfactory and sufficient fresh-water supply. 

Nalla Tanni Tivu and Uppo Tanni Tivu Pars. — Early on the morning of May 
13th we left our anchorage off Nalla Tanni Tivu and steamed south 2\ miles to the south- 
west end of Uppu Tanni Tivu Par, where we cast off the four inspection boats with 
instructions to row B.N.E. over this bank. Several dives from the ship in five fathoms 
at this place showed the bottom to be flat rock with a considerable amount of sponge 
growing upon it. Prom this place we steamed to the eastern edge of Nalla Tanni Tivu 
Par and there awaited the arrival of the inspection boats. 

The results showechthat the interval of sandy bottom between these Pars as shown 
in the inspection chart is largely absent ; that the extent of hard bottom is more 
extensive than is charted, and that special attention should be given to this region at 
inspections, especially in view of the remains of old shells on the neighbouring 
island of Nalla Tanni Tivu. The depth of water on TJppu Tanni Tivu Par varies from 
4J to 6 fathoms, while that on Nalla Tanni Tivu Par ranges from 5i to 7 fathoms, 
depths rather greater than those recorded on the inspection chart. 

The rock on both Pars varies from an almost pure limestone to a calcareous sand- 
stone, in the former case brownish yellow in colouring and ringing like iron under a 
blow ; this I consider the bed rock of the plateau and not a recent calcrete. It is 
apparently identical with the hard limestone of the Jaffna Peninsula of Ceylon. 

Pew specimens were obtained as the water was too clouded with mud to permit of 
objects being seen upon the bottom. The divers complained bitterly of the discomfort 
of these conditions under which they had to examine the bottom by touch alone. 

This excessive turbidity is in itself quite sufficient to entail upon pearl oysters 
starvation, weakness and eventual death, especially in the case of young and immature 
ones. A similar condition entailing fatal results I noticed among the younger oysters 
which I kept in aquarium tanks at Gaile during the south-west monsoon when 
discoloured turbid water is the prevailing condition in Galle Harbour. 

My coxswains, who have been connected with Ceylon inspections for a very long 
period, 12 to 19 years, state that while the water becomes discoloured on the Ceylon 
side after a continuance of heavy weather the extent of turbidity is slight compared 
with what they have seen on this side during the last two days. 

On the rocky ground of this region the tubes of Eunice tubifex were plentiful 
together with many sponges and gorgonoids, 

Siplionochalina communis, Axinella donnani, A. tuoulata % Isodictya sp., Sulerites 
inconsians, &c,, were met with, also Juncella juncea (in quantity) and Gorgonia miniacea, 

Neither chank s nor Pinna were found. 

The sand met with was, as usual on this coast, fine grained and largely calcareous, 
made up in the main of minutely comminuted shells. The quartz grains present were 
all extremely minute ; foraminifera w'ere fairly abundant. 

In the afternoon as wind and sea increased rapidly we ran for shelter to the north- 
east side of Uppu Tanni Tivu. By 4 p.m. a very nasty cross sea got up and with the 
wind blowing half a gale the ship rolled unpleasantly at her anchorage. Towards sunset 
a strong land wind set in, the sky over the land murky -red and threatening. 

In the morning (May 14th) the landward side of the vessel, and of the awnings, 
funnel, stanchions, &c, was covered with a thick coating of impalpable red dust ; the 
murkiness over the land of the preceding night had been due to dust clouds, which, as 
they prevail throughout the south-west monsoon on this coast, must therefore form no 
inconsiderable factor in the production of muddy deposits in the sea. 


Kuiiulam Pak. — Leaving the Uppu TanniTivu anchorage at 6-20 a.m. we steamed 
south to the small Kumulam Par. A series of dives here in six fathoms showed the 
bottom to be rocky, sometimes fairly clear of sand, at other times covered with from 
one to two inches. A few Holothurians and sponge fragments were brought up ; no 
trace of oysters was found. 

Steaming a quarter of a mile further another series of dives gave similar results ; 
flat rock with sand filling the depressions and with occasional small, loose fragments of 
calcrete upon the surface. 

At both stations the sand contained a large proportion of mud, so much that I 
have no hesitation in condemning this ground as hopeless and utterly unfit to rear 
oysters to maturity. It may with safety be ignored in future inspections. 

The ground lying between the Kumulam and Vembar Periya Pars was next 
examined and found to consist of a coarser sand than any seen so far. Many medium 
sized quartz grains were present and though the water here was discoloured, no mud 
was actually found in the sand. 

Depth 10 fathoms. Temperature of sea at 4-30 P.M. 89° P. Specific gravity 

Vembar Pekita Par. — Continuing our course we arrived at 8-15 a.m. at a point 
which Captain Carlyon believed to be the north-east end of the Vembar Periya Par. 

The steamer and the four inspection boats were employed in the examination ol 
it for the rest of the morning. 

This par as outlined on the chart is of considerable extent, 3 miles in length by 
If mile in breadth, the bank ranking next in size to the Tolayiram. Par. The cleptk 
shown on the chart is 6 to 7 fathoms. 

The examination proved hardly satisfactory, as out of upwards of 160 dives taken 
over an area of three miles long by one mile broad, but eight dives (in 8 fathoms) 
were on rock. All the soundings were between 6i and 9 fathoms, the great majority 
being 8 to 8f- fathoms. 

On the small patch of rock found by No. 2 boat two small pearl oysters — 4 to 5 
months old — were discovered, together with a large number of Suran (Modiola 
barbata). One small fragment of rock bore a densely packed cluster of 10 indi- 
viduals. Euncid tubes and zoophytes were also present in considerable abundance. 

The greater part of the sand was of a character approximating closely to that 
found on the Ceylon banks — bright clean yellow in general colour with plenty of 
quartz, cleaner and better sand even than that taken between this region and the 
Kumulam Par. Two dives gave tenacious black mud similar to that taken between 
Uppu Tanni Tivu and iSTalla Tanni Tivu Pars. 

The Par is all a more or less pure limestone, mostly of fine grain. 

Viewed by the nature of the bottom and the depth of water, I am very doubtful 
if the locality inspected is the Vembar Periya Par ; 1 believe the ground examined 
in reality lies seaward of the Par so named. This Vembar Periya bank at all times 
must be difficult to find from want of good land-marks ; there are indeed no charted 
land-marks observable from this position at sea, though several remarkable trees and 
clumps can be seen and might be utilized for lack of something better. To do this 
sketches of the relative positions of these trees and clumps should be made from 
different bearings and the positions of the principal objects marked accurately on 
the chart. 

Portunately this is the only bank in any way difficult to locate, all others that 
are equally far from land being within sight of such conspicuous land-marks as beacons 
lighthouses and pagodas. 

On the evening of May 14th we returned to Tuticorin, the unsettled and 
threatening character of the weather making it doubtful if we should be able to do 
any further work at sea. 

Pending a decision upon this question, I occupied part of this stay ashore in 
endeavouring to locate any bed of window-pane oyster (Placuna plaeenta) that there- 
might be in the neighbourhood. I had found prior to this several young individual* 



thrown up by the tide along the shore to the south of the town, and from the muddv 
character of the bottom I thought it useful to investigate further. Accordingly 
taking two fishermen I proceeded south along the coast and passed the salt factory 
scrutinizing as we proceeded the eroded edge of the low sandy land on the one side 
and the face of the littoral on the other. Along the shore of the bay-like estuary 
south of the salt factory large quantities of dead PJacinia shells are observable in 
two places accumulated in dense masses and embedded in the sand some little 
distance below high-water mark. The shells appear as densely packed as those in 
the great heaps which mark the sites of former fisheries of this shell-fish along the 
shores of Lake Tampalakam near Trincomalie in Ceylon. 

Close by I saw others embedded in the adjacent sand hummocks, showing up 
wherever a section was exposed. In some places a depth of sand of fully 18 inches 
lay upon the shells. Meanwhile the fishermen had been wading about in the shallows 
and after trying various places found a small bed of the living animal and brought 
ashore a considerable number. The majority of them were fairly well grown and 
approaching maturity. The size of six typical individuals averaged 15|- centimetres 
in diameter, being almost perfectly circular in outline. 

The men also reported large numbers of dead shells which, however, probably 
belonged to past generations. 

Placuna lives well out of water if kept in a cool situation, a property due to the 
faculty this shell-fish possesses of closing the valves tightly at all points round the 
margin, after the fashion of the edible oyster. In this particular ease, several indi- 
viduals which I put on one side for this experiment were found alive and vigorous 
thirty hours later, in spite of being drained of water and the temperature as high as 
96° F. in the shade. 

In Ceylon a fishery of this shell was frequently leased by Government with 
considerable profit during the past century, the locality being an extensive shallow 
muddy bay on the north-east coast, close to the harbour of Trincomalie. 

In Tuticorin I could glean no information as to whether a fishery had ever been 
held in the neighbourhood ; in view of the presence of living individuals and of the 
great piles of embedded shells along the sea-shore it might prove to be of advantange 
to Government if further search were made in suitable localities — backwaters, shallow 
estuaries, etc. — along the coast of the Madras Presidency with a view to locate any 
beds sufficiently large to provide a fishery and to ascertain also if pearls be sufficiently 
numerous to make such a fishery profitable. I notice that Dr. Edgar Thurston * 
records Placuna from Pulicat lake and Buckingham canal. The former of these has, 
I understand, an area far exceeding that of Tampalakam Bay and should therefore 
receive special attention. 

The weather had now improved temporarily and it w T as decided to spend two 
more days upon the banks, in order if possible to provide me with an opportunity to 
make a diving descent upon the Tolayiram Par, a matter which I considered to be of 
great importance. 

Leaving Tuticorin on the morning of May 17th, we proceeded to a position 
south-west of Mela Onpatu Par, where we spent the whole of the available time in 
taking numerous hauls of the dredge in 9J to 10 fathoms. My intention had been to 
select a locality which was a known chank bed in order to experiment with the dredge. 
I had accordingly requested Captain Carlyon to arrange to be taken to a suitable 
bank, the consequence being that the pilotage of the steamer was entrusted to a Par- 
mandadai, who was, I understand, informed of my wish in the matter. The results 
showed that he deliberately placed the ship where I am absolutely convinced no chank 
bed exists. 

This action, accidental or intentional, barred my way to demonstrate, as I had 
wished, the utility of the dredge in fishing for chanks. Fortunately one of the pearl 
banks fished in February 1905, on the Ceylon side, adjoins a chank bed, and having 

* " Notes on the Pearl and Chant fisheries and Marine Fauna of the Gulf of Manaar, " Madras, 1890, page 27. 


the use of the dredging steamer " Violet''' at that time, I was able to satisfy myself 
by actual experiment that the dredge is an efficient implement for successful chank 

The bottom where the Parmandadai took the " Margarita " was quite unlike that 
of any of the undoubted chank beds we had previously visited, while the depth of 
water, almost ten fathoms, was nearly double that upon typical chank beds. 

The ground was extremely rich in life, elongated cylindrical actinians of two 
species were abundant embedded in the sand, together with large numbers of an 
elongated Molgulid, which appears to live upright with the aboral extremity 
implanted in the sand. A small Flabellum sp. was plentiful on the surface together 
with a drab and grey Pennatula and many Yirgularia jitncea ; asborescent rosy tipped 
Pennatulids were also characteristic, while several specimens of a hollow-stemmed 
coarsely-branched Aleyonarian (? Siphonogorgia sp.) were taken. The latter were 
pink and white in colour and were accompanied in each case by a pair of small crabs 
and a pair of small Galatheids similarly coloured and obviously commensals. 

Some colonies were more uniformly suffused pink than others and on these the 
commensals were more uniformly tinted pink. On one colony, where white colouring 
largely prevailed, and where the margins of the branches alone were coloured pink, 
the crabs were uniformly white except for two splashes of pale pink on the anterior 
edge of the carapace. The large fan-shaped green alga with bulbous base embedded 
in the sand was the only alga found. A single specimen of Lingula sp. was one of 
the noteworthy acquisitions made in this locality. 

The sand was fine, clean, and with no trace of the mud which is a characteristic 
component and essential attribute of a prolific chank bed. 

Hence we moved north to the Tolayirarn Par, where we anchored after verifying 
the locality by cross bearings and by some trial dives, which indicated the presence 
•of numerous young oysters. 

During the evening the crew caught a large number of trigger fishes {Batistes) 
and of strong-toothed fishes of the genus Lethrinns, the latter being known as 
Tellamin * among the Tamil fishers. The stomach contents of the Batistes were in this 
case free from incriminatory evidence in respect to pearl oysters, due probably to the 
fact that all the individuals were of a small size. In the case of the Vellamin on the 
contrary the stomachs were crammed with fragments of pearl oyster shells upon which 
this fish appeared to be feeding exclusively. As six of these, all of large size, were 
caught within two hours it is plain that these fish are now inflicting enormous havoc 
npon the bed of oysters on this par. 

The next morning I donned the diving dress, and the water being fairly clear 1 
had an excellent opportunity of examining the bank. 

The depth where the descent was made is 9| fathoms. I found the bottom very 
variable ; in most places a covering of about an inch and-a-half of sand lay upon flat 
surfaced rock. Here and there the rock protrudes or lies level with the general sandy 
surface. These exposed patches are small in area, usually from 1| to 2 feet in 
diameter. A. limited amount of small cultch is present on the surface to which the 
majority of the oysters adhered. The cultch consists of short fragment of much 
worn branches of coral (" ehullai"j, quite small Nnllipore balls (Lithothamnion), the 
tests of dead echinoids (chiefly of Clypeaster humilis)^ fragments of calcrete and such 

The oysters were fairly abundant, their numbers obviously curtailed by the 
quantative limitation of the cultch. They appeared to be of two generations, the one 
four to five months, the other ranging from six weeks to two months. 

Sponges were not obtrusive, several specimens of the peculiarly massive Petrosia 
testudinaria were seen but the commonest species was one which interiorly is yellow, 
while the exterior is more or less tinted with pale green. In its growth it envelopes 
much sand in its substance, which is generally level with the sand surface, sending 
up stout tapering branches at intervals. Its general appearance is inconspicuous. 

• ZetJtrinus ntlulosut arid other species-. 


No living coral was seen except a small Favia sp. and an occasioaal Gorgouid. 

While on the bottom I saw many fishes including both KilaU (Trigger fishes) 
and Vellamin together with a beautifully striped sponge-eating lisli (Holocanthus 
imperatoi'). The Asterid, Pcntaceros lincki, was not abundant. No Snrau (Modiola 
larbata) was seen. 

After I had completed my examination of the bottom, Captain Carlyon being of 
opinion that it was now too late in the season to do further work, and as the coal 
supply was on the point of giving out, under the circumstances I determined ta- 
bling the investigation to a close. 

When the anchor was brought up we had a repetition of our former experience 
on this bank — the chain being studded with young oysters of about two months old 
affixed by their byssal cables near the attachment to the anchor. 

Two hours later we landed for the last time at Tuticorin and although I had not 
been able to examine every bank charted, I considered that I now knew the general 
characteristics of the principal groups sufficiently well to answer all practical purposes 
and enable me to furnish solutions to the majority of the problems I had set oat to 





In the present section an attempt is made to sieze upon the essentially charac- 
teristic features of the chief pars — historical, topographical, physical aad biological — and 
therefrom by comparison with one another and with typical banks on the Ceylon side 
to evolve a knowledge of their relative economic importance in regard to the prospect 
they respectively hold out of successfully maturing such oyster spat as may from time 
to time settle thereon: Such a comparative survey will also go some distance towards 
enabling us to say what direction any measures of cultivation should take, if it be 
found advisable or possible to assist nature by artificial means. 

The configuration of the Indian coast of the Gulf of Mannar is simpler than that 
on the Ceylon side. On the former there is no great shoal like that of the Ceylon 
Karativu, which stretches northwards into the sea for a distance of nine miles giving 
a certain amount of shelter to a great area of varied bottom, rock and sand, lying in 
the Bay of Kondachehi. On the contrary the Indian Pearl Banks lie open to the full 
force of the south-west monsoon which on this coast sweeps up in great violence from 
south to north. Again lying as they do on the west side of the Gulf, they also 
experience much rough weather during the north-east monsoon, a time when the 
Ceylon banks, lying under the lee of the land, enjoy comparative quietude. The 
period of immunity from storm disturbance on the [ndian coast is accordingly greatly 
curtailed and is restricted under normal conditions to the months of February, March 
and April. Occasionally fairly quiet conditions prevail during the greater part of 
May— the onset of the south-west monsoon in full force being experienced somewhat 
more tardily there than on the Ceylon side. 

This geographical disability of the Indian Banks is linked with and intensified 
by the mechanical disadvantage entailed by the inferior character of the sand on that 
side, its finer grain and the admixture with it of mud — characteristics which contribute 
to increase greatly the turbidity of the water whenever heavy seas sweep the Pearl 
Bank region. As already noted these are conditions which have probably become 
intensified concurrently with the erosion of the southern extremity of India and which 
tend, though with extreme slowness, in the historic sense, to reduce the pearl oyster 
productiveness of this locality — deductions from which we infer greater prosperity in 
times past. That there was such anterior prosperity we have indications in the 
existence of remains of ancient oyster-shell heaps close to Cape Comorin, in the 
frequent allusions of classical writers to the wealth of the Pearl Fisheries of Eolkoi, 
which town we have seen was situated on the river Tambraparni, in the statement of 
Friar Jordanus that as many as 8,000 boats were engaged about the year 1330 in the 
Indian and Ceylon fisheries and in the fact that Eayal or Cail near Pinnacoil is spoken 
of by Marco Polo, Ludovico de Vathema, Barbosa and other mediaeval travellers as 
the head-quarters of the Pearl Fishery — a '* greatand noble city inhabited by jewellers 
who trade in pearls." 

Dealing with the] conditions as they 'are at present, we find that so far as our 
available modern records permit us to judge, all the known oyster-productive banks are 
comprised in the division which I have termed the Central, lying between Vaipar and 
Manapad point, a distance roughly of 40 miles. 

A list of these banks and of the groups into which I propose to classify them has 
been given above on pages 25 and 26. 

It now remains to describe the varying characteristics of each group aDd to 
institute comparisons as detailed as the material at our command will allow. 

1. Tolayieam Group. 

This group possesses the distinction of being the most productive and remunera- 
tive collection of pars along the Tinnevelly coast. Two banks only are comprised 



under the group title — the large Tolayiram Par and the small Kutadiar Par. The 
former is by far the largest of the productive pars ; the latter, which lies to the south- 
west extremity of its huge neighbour, being on the contrary one of the smallest, an 
oval-outlined rocky patch one mile long by half that in breadth. 

The Tolayiram Par lies 8 to 11 miles off the coast and opposite Hare island and 
Tuticorin Bay, the northern extremity due east from the town of Tuticorin. In shape 
the bank is roughly crescentic, the concave side turned shorewards. Its long axis lies 
roughly north-east by south-west measuring over six miles in this direction. The 
width varies from one to two miles, broadening as we approach the upper extremity. 
The depth of water over it ranges from 8 to 11 fathoms. 

Eight fisheries have taken place upon this locality during the past 120 years, 
namely, in 1784, 1787, 1807, 1810, 1822, 1830, 1889 and 1890. 

The annexed table shows the results of these fisheries so far as I can obtain 
particulars : — 


Number of 
oysters fished. 

Gross Govern- 
ment revenue. 





Mure than 








Separate revenue 

not given. 



Total revenue over Rs. 10,06,594 

Net Govern- 
ment revenue. 



The name Tolayiram Pax, literally " 900 banks ", pithily describes the peculiar 
physical conditions which prevail over the area so denominated. The character of 
the bottom is an alternation of rocky patches scattered irregularly in a vast setting of 

The sizes of the outcrops of rock differ greatly, from little tabular fragments a 
foot or two across to great areas of several acres in extent. The sand is nowhere deep, 
seldom forming a layer of more than six inches in depth, filling up inequalities in the 
rocky framework of the bank. 

The rock is a fine grained limestone compact and resonant, the colour yellowish 
brown. Here and there a small admixture of quartz is present but never in any large 
proportion. Loose blocks and many parts of the exposed surfaces are in a " rotten " 
condition, tunnelled and excavated by boring molluscs and occasionally by Olione. 

The character of the sand is fine grained and almost entirely calcareous — a similar 
material to that from which the underlying rock has originated. 

Cultch is fairly abundant in places, scattered over the sand. It consists of dead 
shells, broken branches of Madrepore coral ("chullai"), Echinoid tests and similar 

A striking parallelism can be traced in nearly every characteristic between this 
bank and the well known Periya Par on the Ceylon side of the Gulf of Mannar. In 
both cases the bottom consists of a few inches of sand covering flat rock in those 
places where the rock does not outcrop and with a fair amount of small cultch scattered 
over the sand. 

The average depth, 9| to 10 and 11 fathoms, is the same in both; both are 
situated further seaward than any other true oyster pars on their respective sides — the 
Periya Par 16 to 18 miles off land, the Tolayiram Par 11 to 12 miles. 

The faunistic characters approximate in a remarkable manner, the larger and 
more conspicuous species of animals are the same in both localities. 


In the sponge, coral, eehinoderrn, molluscan and fish fauna there is practical 
identity. One list will serve for both. 

Thus we have as common to each : — 

Petrosia testudinaria, Spongionella nigra, and Axinella donnani typifying the 
sponges ; the abundance on these two banks of Petrosia is one of the most remarkable 
of the many of the striking resemblances between these banks, for this sponge, striking 
in its strangely massive form, may be said to be limited to them. I have scarcely 
ever seen it elsewhere. 

Corals are scarce on both banks, represented by isolated colonies of Astraeids 
(Favia sjj.) and of Meandrina. 

Occasional Aleyonarians and Pennatulids are found together with numbers of 
knobbed horse chanks and small lameUibranchs of identical species. Pentaceros linki, 
Linkia laevigata and Antedon sp. are the chief starfishes on the Tolayiram Par. 

On both banks the fish population as represented by the trigger fishes (Kilati), 
and Yellamin (Lethrinus spp.) and gobies, appears to be greater in numbers than on 
the banks nearer the shore. 

On the whole both banks are decidedly poor faunistically, with little diversity 
of life-forms which in the majority of cases are also poor numerically. The absence 
of Madrepores, of Pinna and of the tubes of Eunice tubifex, is characteristic and 

The Periya Par is cited by Professor Herdman * as especially suitable for dredging 
over. The Tolayirarn Paris equally so, or if anything somewhat superior as the rocky 
surface is quite free from upstanding growths or rugged inequalities. 

Eeviewing the history of the Tolayiram Par as shown by the Inspection diaries 
dating from I860, we find that subsequent to the year named — when the bank was 
covered with oysters said to be 3£ years old — there are records of the bank having been 
stocked extensively with spat four times, one of which resulted in the fisheries of 
1889 and 1890. 

The particulars of these are — 

18b3. " Some young oysters ". (It would appear that the numbers could not have been 

large. " Suran " was noted as present the same year). 
1874. " Some young oysters on Kuthadiar Par with ' Suran '. " 
1878. " Thickly stocked with oysters of one year age." 
1881. " Some oysters of one year." 
1884. The Inspection sammary reads " plenty of oysters of one year age; clean and 

healthy." These oysters survived and furdished the two successive fisheries 

of 1889 and 1890, at which a total of 14,407,293 oysters were fished. 
1904. Since 1890 only one spat fall has been recorded — that found during the present 

year's examination. 

The bank was not examined in the spring of 1861, nor in 1862, 1861, 1868, 
1870, 1871, 1893 and 1900. 

From the above we observe that out of a total of 14 years, 1860 — 1901, there 
have been five recorded spat falls on this bank with the probability of a sixth in 1874, 
when this bank was not examined although the adjoining Kuthadiar Par bore 

The bank brought one lot of these — that of 1881 — to maturity and from what 
I can see the prospects of a fishery resulting from the present population of young 
oysters are good if they survive till next spring. By that time they will be too 
large to suffer much from the depredations of oyster-eating fish (Trigger-fishes and 
Vellamin). They will then be more robust and better fitted to endure the discomforts 
and danger of starvation, which are the concomitants of the disturbed water conditions 
during the stormy period of the year. 

Comparing the history of the Periya Pdr, we find that in 26 years ending 1904, 
this bank was restocked at least 12 times without yielding a fishery. We know also 
that one fishery, that of 1879, is the only one yielded by this bank during the past 
century (7,645,901 oysters realizing Es. 95,694). 

* loc. cit, Pt. 1, page 111. 


So while the Ceylon bank is infinitely more fertile in the number of times it ia 
replenished with oyster spat, its Indian counterpart has greater reliability ; six times 
do we know that it has brought its oysters to fishing maturity, namely, in 17S4, 
17S7, 1807, 1810, 1822 and 1889-1890, and very probably a third time" as well, for 
the oysters noted in 1SG0 as 3| years old were in all probability there iu lS'U, in the 
spring of which no examination was made, the officers in charge being busy with the 
fishing of oysters of a similar age on the inshore pars. This divergence in results is 
due in great part to the Ceylon bank being situated in a relatively more exposed 
position being close to the edge of the precipitous submarine cliff that margins the 
seaward aspect of the Ceylon Pearl Bank plateau. As a consequence the heavy seas 
which characterise the period of the south-west monsoon break iu unmitigated 
violence upon the Periya Par, whereas on the Indian coast the movement of the 
water during the same season has undergone considerable amelioration when it reaches 
the Tolayiram Far from travelling over a couple of hundred miles of comparatively 
shallow water. 

Faunistic and many physical (chiefly geological) characteristics link the Tola- 
yiram with the Periya Par; but in regard to the aspect and degree in which the 
former meets the fury of the south-west monsoon, its position is more comparable 
with that of the Cheval Par which lies on the leeward side of the Periya Par, and 
is as consistently reliable as the latter is the converse. 

The value of the Tolayiram Par may be assessed as midway between the Cheval 
Par and the Periya Par, inferior to the latter chiefly by reasou of oyster spat being 
less abundant and to current conditions (surface-drift) being less favourable to the 
deposit of such spat on the Indian than the Ceylon side ; — partly also to the conditions 
of life being somewhat less favourable on the Tolayiram Par owing to the greater 
amount of sediment present in the sea on the Indian side. 

The data for the institution of comparison between the rate of growth normally 
characteristic of the Tolayiram Par oysters with that of oysters from typical localities 
on the Ceylon side rests upon a single series of measurements and weights of that 
generation of the former that survived to a fishable age in 1889. The resultant 
comparisons based upon these dimensions are highly dnstructive and while in my 
opinion I believe it is probable that they are quite typical of the normal progress of 
growth of oysters on this par, further series of growth observations are desirable and 
Inspectors after this should be instructed to record the necessary particulars on every 
available opportunity. 

Two methods of "comparison are available : (a) the external dimensions of the 
oysters when alive, and (b) the weight of the cleaned shells. 

Making use of the former method we find usually but little increase in the length 
and depth of the shell after the third year ; the shell secreting energy of the animals 
being thereafter occupied chiefly in adding to the thickness of the valves. 

I now attach greater importance to observations upon the average weight of 
oyster shells than upon measurements of length and depth, being nearly as 
steadily progressive in old age in the case of weight of shell as it is during the first 
three years of existence ; it furnishes us with the most reliable guide available in the 
assessment of age that I know of. 

But we need to have considerable knowledge of the special growth peculiarities 
of the ground we deal with. Some pars by reason of abundant food supply hasten 
the growth of their oysters to a surprising degree, while others where less favourable 
conditions prevail bear oysters of an unhealthy appearance and of stunted size. 

Cn the Ceylon side two distinct types of oysters are found, the one large and 
vigorous, peculiar to the Southern and Eastern Cheval and Moderagam Pars, the 
other slow-growing, small and stunted, characteristic of the rocky banks of the 
Muttuvaratu, Mid- West and North- West Cheval. 

We will now proceed to compare the sizes and weights of the generation of 
oysters carefully guarded on the Tolayiram Par by Captain Phipps from 1884 to 
1889 with those of oysters of the two types referred to on the Ceylon side. 

Weight of Pearl Oyster Shells. 


Increase in 






per 100 
pairs of 

weight in 










, . 




March 18S5 









April 18S6 













October 1S87 





November 18S8 








. . 


„ „ 1890 





Westem Cheva] Par * f 




(Tvpe in^eriEEdiate between, 1 





She f reelv grown oysters of | 






the South and South-East ^ 

Cheval and the extremely 1 

November 1?73 ., 




. . 

stunted ones from the Mut- I 

(fished) March 1874 





tuvaratu). L 

.. 1S75 






March 1874 




Sonth-East Cheval Par * . . 1 






(Free growth tvpe) .. .. 1 






„ 1S77 





* In Captain Dcnnan's table the ages of these are given as three months older than shown here; the figures now 
given, I believe, approximate more closely to the actual ages. 

Analysing the above table we obtain the following comparisons : — 

Tolayiram Par. 

Weight at f year 

If years 















at f 









u 4 






at f 






- 4 



u 4 



H 4 


North- West Cheval Pat. 

South-West Cheval Par. 

















The weight of three typical oysters from the fishery held on the Muttuvaratu 

Par in 1891 is 5 375 ounces, equivalent to a 


of 17-916 ounces per 10 pairs 

of shells when the oysters were approximately Q~ years old. 

The annual increase in weight of oysters on the Tolayiram Par compares, as will 
be seen from the above, very unfavourably with the comparatively stunted oysters 
characteristic of the Western Cheval. The nearest approximation was at the age of 
If year, when 10 Tolayiram Par oysters weighing 6£ ounces were but 1J- ounce less 
than the weight of a similar number from the North-Western Cheval. During the 
next twelve months, however, the latter gained i\ ounces as against an increase of 



1] ounce by the former. This disparity continued toiucrease more slowly thereafter, 
but unfortunately for want of data we cannot give the exact amount for the age of 4| 

It is a pity that we have not available a record of the yearly weight increase of 
the oysters fished on the Ceylon Muttuvaratu Par in the same years as those of the 
Tolayiram Par. If we had I think we should hud that there would be shown close 
approximation between the two ; the Muttuvaratu oysters of that generation were 
markedly stunted and poor and the fishery of 1SS9 was decided upon only after 
considerable hesitation. 

The only datum I possess is the weight given above of three typical oysters from 
the 1891 fishery. This which is equivalent to a weight of 179 L6 ounces for 10 
shells at 6| years of age as against 17 - 64 ounces for a similar number of 6f years old 
oysters from the Tolayiram Par in 1890 indicates practical identity in growth-rate. 

By the courtesy of Captain Carlyon I have been enabled to measure a few indivi- 
duals of this last fished generation of Tolayiram Par oysters and append a table 
thereof in which the measurements of some of the oysters from the Muttuvaratu 
Par are included for the sake of comparison. The numbers are too restricted to 
give an average that may be taken as thoroughly trustworthy. They constitute, 
however, the only data available and till systematic records extending over a consider- 
able series of years be obtained by work in the future it is well to place them on 
record : — 





March 1B35 

1J years .. . . | 

40 X 64 X 23 Millimetres 
60 X 53 X 22f 

"I 66 X 58-5 X 22-75 



April 1886 

2| years . . 

63 X 58 X 27J 
67 X 61 X 31 

I 63-5 X 70-5 X 27-5. 


62 X 62 X 30 

71 X 70 X 32 „ 


October 1S8 7 

4 4, years 8 , 

79 X 70 X 32 „ 

76-66 X 71-33 X 33. 

80 X 74 X 35 „ 


77 X 80 X 32 ,, 


November 18S8 

5 A years . > . . ■ 


f 76-66 X 77-33 X 32-83. 

78 X 74 X 33i 

March 18S9 

5 J years . . 

78 X 80 X 33 

80 X 74 X 31 „ 

] 79 X 77 X 31-33. 


72 X 6S X 31 


„ 1890 

6J years . . 


72-66 X 71 X 32-16. 


76 X 72 X 31£ 


Muttuvaratu Par, Ceylon. 



6^ years (deep short 
oysters covered with 



living growths — 

1 73 X 63 X 36 Millimetres 


March 1891 . . . . ^ 

Lithothamnion and 

S>67 X 57 X 35| 

73-33 X 59 33 X 35-83. 

corals ; much corro- 

1 80 X 58 X 36 ,, 

ded by the tunnel- 


ling of Clionej. 


It would appear from the preceding tables that the growth of the Indian oysters 
is distinctly retarded after the third year, the life conditions being more favourable 
to the young than to the old — a condition which I believe will be found due largely to 
the great abundance of encrusting organisms, sponges and polyzoa especially, which 
begin to flourish upon the valves of the Indian oysters in wonderful abundance from 
the age of li year. A similar state of marked retardation in growth is charac- 
teristic of the oysters from the Ceylon South M oderagam Par, after the attainment of 
the same age, a retardation coincident with the appearance of luxuriant sponge,, 
tunicate, and polyzoa growth upon the valves. On the South Cheval where such 
commensal growth is rare, no such marked slackening in the rate of growth is 

The oysters of the Tolayiram Par in October 1887, when 4J years old, gave a 
pearl valuation of but Es. 3-11-5 per 1,000 and as this was much too low to justify 
a profitable fishery, it was not till after the valuation of November 1888, affording a 
Valuation of Es. 18-12-8 per 1,000, that a fishery was decided upon. The oysters 
were therefore 5f years old when first fished in 1889. 

* See my "Report on the Biological results of the Ceylon Pearl Oyster Fishery of 1904", Ceylon Marine 1 
Biological Keports, No. 1, Colombo, 1S05. 


Against this we find that the comparatively stunted oysters of the North-West 
Cheval Par were ready for fishing at Sf years of age— a sample lifted in February 
1874 giving the high valuation of Rs. 36-S-O per 1,000. 

Finelv °rrown ovsters on the South- East Cheval were also fished in 1S7S at the 
reputed age of If years; their valuation three months prior thereto was Es. 39-14-2 
per 1.000. 

The oysters fished on the Aluttuvaratu Par in March 1889 were reputed to be 
i± years old, and in the November preceding, at the approximate age of 4-J- years, the 
valuation sample worked out at Rs. 10-2-4 per 1,000. 


2. TJti Pae Group. 

A chain of six banks, the Nagara, Uti, Uduruvi, Ivilati, Attuvaiarpagam and 
Patarai Pars constitute this group. All are of small and of about equal size, averag- 
ing from § to -f of a mile in diameter. They lie in a depth of 7 to S| fathoms, 
landwards of the Tolayirara Par, at a distance of 5 to 7 miles from the shore. They 
stretch north and south about 3 miles. 

The area is essentially rocky, the proportion of sandy ground intermingled with 
the rock insignificant. 

Faunistically this area is richer and more diversified than the Tolayiram region, 
the intimate intermingling of rock and sand upon the latter producing effects when 
the sea is disturbed which but a comparatively few species of animals can tolerate. 

The fauna agrees closely with that of those southern Ceylon banks lying off 
Negombo. notably with Uluwitte Par which lies at the same depth. 

The features characterising the Uti banks in common with those off Negombo 
are as follows : — 

An abundance of sponges including a larger number of small species than in 
the case of the Tolayiram. Siphonochalina communis with its numerous commensals 
is among the most common ; fixed corals are scarce ; Zoophytes are profuse with 
many colonial masses of Fihgrana tubes and everywhere the curious branched tubes 
of Eunice tubifex. Pinna sp. covered with large Balani are conspicuous on the sandy 

The rocky bottom on the TJti banks is calcrete, containing in some places a 
considerable quantity of quartz grains embedded in a calcerous matrix. — a quartzose 

The only fisheries recorded from these banks during the last 120 years took 
place in 1792, 1830 and 1860-1861. In the last instance the oysters, said to be 4^ 
years old, were abundant and of good fishing; value. Adjacent banks are usually 
fished in the same season with these and separate figures of the number of oysters 
fished from the Uti banks are not available. 

3. Pasi Group. 

Two banks, the Pasi Par and the Attonpatu Par, may be linked together under 
this head. They lie 6 to 7 miles off Hare Island, Tuticorin, at a depth of 8 to 9 
fathoms, and are situated nearly midway between the Uti Par group and the western 
margin of the Tolayiram Par. 

These also were fished in 1861 together with the adjoining Uti Par and 
associated banks. Since then the only records of oysters present in quantity are — 

1863 ... ... ... "Very young oysters and Suran." 

1-70 ... ... ... " Plenty of young oysters of 1 5 years." 

1881 ... ... ... " Large numbers of oysters of one year of age with Suran 

in some places and covered with weeds." 

In addition, in 1894, 1896 and 1901 some few young were found, but as their 
number was limited we may disregard them and draw the inference that like so many 
other banks on this side these two suffer rather from a shortage of spat than from 
inability to support in health those that do appear and survive the dangers of the 
fir-t IS months of existence. 


The bottom 011 the rocky patches is the usual ealcrete, the remainder of the 
ground fine sand with occasional chanks. 

The young oysters found in 1901 lay principally on the sandy stretches. 

4. Cruxian Group. 

Another group of small pars, three in number, lying west of the island of Vautivu 
and about six miles from the mainland. The three constituent pars, Cruxian, Tundu 
and Tantivur Arupagam are to the north- north-west of the TJti group in rather shallower 
water, 6 to 6| fathoms. 

The bottom on the pars consists of level stretches of continuous rock, brownish 
tinted ealcrete exactly similar to that on the Uti pars. 

The fauna differs considerably from that of the last-named banks. Sponges are 
less extensive, Siphonoclialina communis being the most conspicuous and numerous. 

Among other animals noted were large Pinna sp. in abundance rooted in the 
thin layer of sand covering the rock in many places, with Balanus and zoophytes 
crowding the exposed surfaces of the Pinna; Eariice tubifex in quantity ; Heteroneid 
form of Nereis sp. in the canal system of Suberites inconstans ; Botrylhides sp. ; 
Turlinella rapa in the sand on the western side. 

The large fishery of 1861 was contributed to from these banks, which appear 
more favourably situated than many others for receiving spat falls, some eight being 
recorded since 1861. Unfortunately in only three instances, 1878, 1884, and 1902, 
did the re-stocking take place on an extensive scale ; — even in 1902 the quantity of 1~ 
to 2 years old then present was estimated at but 1,700,000, a number too small to 
give good results two to three years after in view of the unpreventable wastage that 
must be allowed for. 

In many respects the Cruxian group has points of resemblance with the North 
and South Moderagam Pars on the Ceylon side, notably in the in-shore situation, the 
comparative shallowness of the water and in the characteristic abundance and associa- 
tion together of Pinna and Balanus. 

The ground referred to on the Ceylon side is much the more clean of the two, 
both faunistically and physically ; the sand there is of the usual coarse grit and this, 
by the attrition of its movement during disturbed weather conditions effectually 
scours the bank, keeping down the growth of weed and other organisms unprotected 
by a hard external protective casing. 

This mechanical cleansing of the bottom is nowhere well seen on the in-shore 
Indian banks where the fineness and low specific gravity of the sand lacks not only 
an adequate scouring force, but by reason of the presence in it of a certain amount of 
mud exercises a retarding influence upon oysters when they are present — an influence 
resulting in a stunting of the growth. 

The fact has long been noted * that the size of Ceylon oysters of a given age from 
the Cheval par is markedly superior to that of those of the same age from the in-shore 
Indian banks, the latter approximating more closely to those from the Muttuvaratu 
Par, a bank with a bad reputation for the starved appearance characteristic of its 


5. Vaipar karai Group. 

The largest of these is the Vaipar Karai Par, a bank of some importance not 
located upon the present inspection chart. Prom the observations made and the 
information supplied by the par mandadai, it appears to lie north-west of the Devi 
Far and about five miles due south of the village of Vaipar. The other banks in this 
grouping are the Devi, Pernandu, Padutta Marikan and Padutta Marikan Tundu Pars, 
varying in diameter from half to three quarters of a mile. Depth 6 to 6|- fathoms. 

The bottom is of the usual reddish-brown limestone common to the other 
groups in this neighbourhood, interrupted and more or less overlaid by a fine muddy 
sand, the larger particles consisting chiefly of comminuted shells. Numerous dead 

* Thonias^H. Sullivan, he. oit., page 14. 


pearl oyster valves, entire and also fragmentary, were abundant, fully If years old ; 
of live "ones but a few odd individuals were found greatly overgrown with tunieates 
and polyzoa and distinctly stunted in appearance. 

The sand on the Yaipar Karai Par is appreciably more dirty and muddy than 
that on the Cruxian pars, a difference due to the vicinity of the embouchure of the 
Yaipar river. The other pars of the group are probably less affected but all have 
borne mature oysters, the group being included in the fishery ground of 1861. 

The faunistic characters approximate to that of the Cruxian pars. Pinna sp. 
bearing large Balani predominate. A few corals (astrasids) were seen with lepto- 
clinids and zoophytes. 

Sponges are neither numerous nor conspicuous. 

It appears from the records that these banks have suffered neglect in recent 
vears, which in view of the fishery held there in 1861 and of the record by Captain 
Phipps of an abundance of young oysters in 1867, 1873, 1877, 1881 and 1884 they 
do not justify. 

Thus the Karai Par received no attention for the years 1887 to 1894 and again 
from 1897 to 1903, both inclusive, a period of eight years in the one case and of 
seven in the other. 

In the case of the other pars of the group the vears of neglect are 1888 to 1890, 
1S92, 1S93, 1898, 1900 and 1901, eight years in all. 

It is quite conceivable that fishable oysters were missed through such omission 
and it emphasizes the contention I make elsewhere for a reorganization of the work 
of inspection upon such a scientific basis of accuracy and method as will preclude 
such lengthy periods of neglect. 

A significant incident pointing to the imperfection of the methods in use in the 
management of these banks is the statement made in Mr. H. Sullivan Thomas' report * 
that oysters of 2f to 3 years of age were found in December 1869 upon the 
Pernandu, Padutta Marikan and Padutta Marikan Tundu Pars, while the entry for 
March 1869 states that these banks were totally devoid, of oysters, — "blank". 
Comment is superfluous on such a state of affairs, not unknown either in the past history 
of the Ceylon banks. f 

The Padutta Marikan Tundu par was one of the banks fished in 1830, the only 
record of a fishery en this par during the past century. 

6. Nenjuhichchan Par Group. 

Three of the usual small pars, § to one mile long, compose this group, namely, 
Kenjurichehan, Kundanjan, and Mela Onpatu Pars and cannot be treated otherwise 
than as a single unit. They lie at a distance of about 6 miles from^he shore midway 
between Tuticorin and Pinnacoil. The depth is 7f to 8J fathoms. 

The rockj T surface is extensive and comparatively free from inorganic sand, 
what there is being composed largely of Poraminifera (Orbibolites and Heterostegina). 
The rock surface is level and well adapted for dredging purposes. 

Physically and fauuistically this group resembles closely the seaward side of the 
Ceylon Muttuvaratu Par. Like the latter it is rich in sponges and in Gorgonoids 
(Gorgonia miniacea, Sulerogorgia suberosa, Juncella juncea), while the long-armed 
Asterid Linckia leavigata is fairly common. 

The group has a disappointing history we]l expressed in the name of the median 
par — NenjurichchaD, literally " Heart-harrower ". Why this should be so is difficult 
to say as the group lies but less than a mile to the south of the Tolayiram Par group ; 
even the sandy stretch separating these groups carries occasional clusters of oysters 
and on the chank bed to the north-west it is not uncommon to find a dozen young 
oysters making use of the chanks in the absence of cultch and rock. 

• Zoe. cit., page 52. 

t Twynaro, Sir William — "Report on the Pearl Fishery of 1888," Ceylon, 1888, page 13, also Stewart— 
" Account of the Pearl Fisheries." 



Probably the reason for such continued lack of oysters is duo to some peculiarity 
in the set of the surface drift over these beds. 

This group should receive regular attention during the next few years with a 
view to elucidate the reasons for this characteristic, note being taken (and recorded) 
of the character of the surface at each inspection, together, with particulars of the 
relative abuudance of chief organisms met with, sponges, Gorgonoids, corals, the 
tubes of Eunice, " Suran ", chanks, fishes and seaweeds. 

7. Puli Pundit Group. 

South-west of the Nenjurichchan group, this collection of small rocky banks 
comprising the Vada Onpntu, Saith Onpatu, Puli Pundu and Kanna Puli Pundn 
Pais, is situated about 9 miles north -east of Pinnacoil and some 8 miles west from 
the coa.-t. The deplh ranges between 7§ to 8| fathoms. 

The bottom of the pars is of flat-fcurfaccd rock, somewhat patchy in distribution. 
Here and theje is a small amount of cultch, more especially on the landward side, 
where a consitleiable amount of water-worn coral branches, " chullai ", is present. 

The par is mostly a fine grained and exceedingly dense limestone, reddish brown 
in tint and so haid as to ring under the hammer. Occasionally the traces of dead 
massive corals, Astrcea or Mtandrina, appear embedded in the surface layer of this rock, 
and are usually much bored into by tuuuelling molluscs and sponges. 

The parchment like tubes of Eunice tubifex are most profuse, their lower 
portions penetrating the tunnels already existing in the surface of the par-calcrete. 
The usual massive sponges, Sijphonochdlina communis, Spongetla nigra, and Suberites 
inconstans are met with, while off the edge of the banks on the west and north chanka 
were met with in number together with occasional Pinnae. 

The history of the group is disappointing, no record existing of any fishery 
having taken place here, although there were spat falls noted in 1667, 1874, 1878> 
18&5, 1895, 1897 and 1901, all of small extent and of no practical importance. 

The lank was not examined during the 8 years between 1886 and 1895. 

Fishes are veiy plentiful on this ground and the area of rochy ground exposed 
is practically insignificant compared w iih the area of sand, while culteh is quite 
insufficient. It is possible that iu these three disabilities we have the reasons for 
the smallness of the numbers of oysters noticed here from time to time. 

8. Inner Kudamuttu Group. 

A series, stretching north and south, of 6 small banks lying 5 to 6 miles off 
the coast between Pinnacoil and Kayalpattanam. The most northerly is the small 
Pinnacoil Seltan Par, the most southerly a small bank, unnamed upon the chart, 
lying a quarter of a mile south of the Saith Kudamuttu Par — the depth in all eases 
being 7^ to 8^ fathoms. 

The general character of the rocky ground is almost identical with that 
characterising the Uti Par group which lies in the same depth of water. Many of 
the larger organisms found in the latter locality are also present here, sponges and 
Eunicid tubes coming up at nearly every dive. Pinna and Bulanus were noted as 
absent from these banks — common features of the Uti pars. As on the latter, a 
few odd oysters remain from the generation noted in 1902 as being from 1^ to 2 
years old ; all were more or less enveloped in the orange-red sponge Clathria inc/ica. 

In IS 18 Kudamuttu, Saith Kudamuttu and Pulu Pars gave a fishery yielding 
Es. 1,67,693. Ten years later they were fished again in conjunction with the 
neighbouring pars, and from an entry in Captain Phipp's list * that oysters 2\ to 3 
years old were present in May 1860 and that no inspection was made in the twa 
following years, I think there can be no doubt that mature fishable oysters were 
here also in 1861 or 1862, not being fished owing to a large number of other banks 
being stocked at the same date and receiving preference in the order of fishing. 

* Tl oma', H. SulHv* \, loo. oit., p. 68.. 


The rocks show some diversity in character, dense and compact limestone 
passing in some places into a somewhat quartzose stone having a calcareous matrix. 
The hard bottom is much cut up by more or less extensive stretches of sand. Here 
and there we meet with loose fragments of calcrete similar in composition to the bed 
rock of the par ; dead coral is fairly common in the form either of much honey- 
combed tabulae or of rolled and much worn broken madrepore branches, derived 
probably by the action of backwash and under-current from the extensive coral reefs 
that fringe the adjacent coast. 

(Thank beds lie to the south, east, and west of these banks, forming virtually a 
girdling of chank-producing sands. 

A list of the common forms of life met with here is given on page 102 
together with other details. 

The term Kudamuttu used in the names of these banks is significant. It 
means literally the " Pearl Bay ", so that the shallow indentation off which these 
banks lie and which has Hare Island, Tuticorin, and Trichendur point as its northern 
and southern limits, with the mouth of the Tambraparni river at the centre of its 
curve, appears to have been termed the Pearl -bay, par excelknce, from the renown of 
the pearl fisheries held there. Kolkoi and Kayal were at the embochure of the 
Tambraparni, so we have in Kudamuttu further indirect evidence that the towns 
named were located near the centre of the most prolific pearl fisheries of early and 
mediaeval times, the periods when they flourished respectively. 

9. Outer Kudamuttu Geoup. 

This is a congery of some six small banks lying due east of the Inner Kudamuttu 
group. It measures some two miles north and south by the same from east to west, 
with an average depth of 9 to 10 fathoms. 

Iso fishery is recorded from these banks ; neither do we know of any extensive 
spat fall in any ypar since the inspection record begins in 1863. Time did not permit 
of an extensive examination this year. 

10. Kadian Group. 

This collection lies about seven miles west of Pinnacoil and due south of the 
Kudamuttu group from which it is separated by a narrow chank bed. To the south 
it marches with the Karuwal group. In deptn it agrees with the former — 7^ to 8 

The two principal patches of rocky ground are the Kadian and Kanawa Pars, 
each of about half a mile in diameter. The whole group covers an extent measur- 
ing approximately two miles from north to south by one and a half from east to west. 

In its fauna, physical structure, and history, it is in close agreement with the 
inner Kudamuttu region, and was fished in conjunction with the Kudamuttu Pars 
in 1823. Spat falls have several times been recorded since 1861, namely in 1878, 
1881, 1895 and 1897 when young oysters lay thick on all the rocky outcrops and 
wherever there was any cultch, quantities being found adhering even to the valves 
of Pinna, which are fairly abundant on the edge of the sandy ground on the western 

The generation of oysters seen for the first time in 1897 were reported healthy 
and still plentiful in the following year, but in 1899 the bank was described as almost 
bare of oysters. A very large number of byssal cables was noticed at this 1899 
inspection, iudicatinglprobably a recent inroad by rays (Rldnoptera sp. ) upon what 
must have been a promising bed of oysters. 

The Inspector, I observe, remarks that the presence of these byssal strands 
'•'• shows plainly that the oysters of last year have migrated", a deduction not warranted 
by an intimate knowledge of the habits of the pearl oyster. 

"Whenever an occurrence of this nature be met with, care should be taken to 
ascertain the condition of the individual byssal cables ; we require to know whether 
the majority show signs of having been broken with violence as happens normally 
when oysters are torn away from their attachment, or if the strands of each cable 


join together at the free end in a pale coloured semi-gelatinous "root". Only if 
such '-roots" be present can we infer voluntary migration, for when an oyster 
decides to shift its quarters it sloughs the root of the byssus ; it never severs it 
— indeed such is an impossibility. In any case a pearl oyster's migration is hardly 
worthy of such a designation ; at the most its journey can be measured in yards and 
for practical purposes the power may be ignored — a power of little advantage to the 
possessor except to shift position from one side of a fragment of rock to another. 
Thus I have seen an oyster three years old crawl four inches up the side of a stone 
to get away from an eddy of sand playing round the base. 

11. Kakuwal Gkoup. 

A series of the usual small rocky patches called pars lying seven miles east-north- 
east from Tiruchendur Pagoda. The depth is 7^ to 8 fathoms. 

The principal banks are Velangu Karuwal and the Karai Karuwal occupying the 
southern portion of the group, with the Periya Malai Piditta and Naduvu Malai 
Piditta Pars on the north, the whole scattered over an area about three miles long by 
from one to two miles broad in an east to west direction. 

The rocky areas have the same general features as the other pars of the Central 
division lying in a similar depth — flat-surfaced roek outcropping in patches of 
different size from a surrounding waste of sand. 

The rock is the usual somewhat variable calcareous calcrete. The sand to the 
west of the group is fine grained and passes gradually into a chank bed. On the par 
region proper the composition of the sand varies considerably ; on the surface of the 
lock foraminifera (Orbitolites and allied forms) form a notable proportion of the bulk ; 
elsewhere the grain becomes frequently coarse and occasionally grades into a distinct 
gravel. On the northern section a considerable amount of small Lithothamnion balls 
is locally abundant. 

Among the characteristic organisms we have Siphonchalina communis, Spongio- 
nella nigra, Axinella tubulata, Axinella donnani, Clathria indica. 

A few corals, chiefly Favia sp. (no Madrepores were seen) ; eunice iulifex is 

Other common organisms are Pentaceros lincki, Linckia laevigata, Antedon spp. 
Ophuiroids ; Scrupocellaria sp ; Padina commersoni, Codium tomenioaum. 

A considerable number of dead oyster shells were found of a size of those from two 
and a half to three years old. Living oysters of about the same age were present here 
and there, the majority enveloped in the encrusting mass of Clathria indica. 

The Karuwal group has brought oysters to maturity more frequently than any 
other bank save the Tolayiram Par during the last century — in 1805, 1815 and 1862. 
Since the last named date young oysters have appeared here in quantity at least five 
times, — in 1863, 1874, 1878, 1884 and 1897; no inspection of the Karai Karuwal was 
made in 1865, 1870,1873, 1874,1875, 1877, 1887, 1889-1890, 1892-1893, 1900 and 

The oysters found in 1897 were still on the pdrs in 1S99 and would have been 
ready to fish the following year when however the bank was not examined, 
owing presumably to the fishery then in progress on the neighbouring Teradi Puli 
Piditta Par. 

The fishery of 1802 on these banks produced a net profit to Government of 
Ks. 1,10,619. 

The general characteristics of the Karuwal group are the most favourable of any 
seen during the investigation, the ground approximating most nearly to the condition 
found on certain of the better parts of the Cheval Par— the most valuable and 
reliable of all the Ceylou banks. 

In both cases we find the depth of water about the same, while the bottom on 
the Karuwal group has a diversity in physical characters somewhat approaching that 
found on the Cheval, stretches of rock much broken up by patches of sand overlaid 
in places with a considerable quantity of eultch consisting of loose blocks of calcrete, 


nodular masses of Lithothamuion (" kotteipakku ") and worn fragments of dead 
coral ("ehullai"). Such diversity seems a condition specially suited to the require- 
ments of oysters. 

12. Odakarai Par. 

A bank lying six miles west of Trichendur and due south of the Karuwal group 
with which it appears to be linked in its main characteristics. 

Much of the bottom is well cultched with Lithothamnion nodules * and the extent 
of rocky bottom is satisfactory, the par extending about 1^ mile north and south. The 
depth is S to Sf fathoms. 

Prior to 1885, this, in common with the banks included under the term Manapad 
group, received insufficient attention and there can he little doubt that ftshable oysters 
occupied the lank in 1900 and perhaps in 1901, — years when no examination was made, 
although it was reported in 1S99 that oysters of 2|- inches in depth were sufficiently 
numerous to give 20 to a dive. 

In the 44 years since 1860 the bank was examined sixteen times only, so that no 
inspection teas made during 28 years. Twice there ivas no examination for five years in 
succession, and this in view of the lank being for all practical purposes a portion of the 
most prolific oyster-maturing ground on this coast ! 

13. Chodi Par. 

A bank four miles west of Trichendur in 8J to 9 fathoms of water. I had no 
opportunity to examine it. 

According to the inspection records it bore oysters of one, two and three years of 
age in 1 S<>9 and is described as being covered with shells and coarse sand about six 
inches to a foot deep in IS 91 and 1894. It is marked as " useless " in the summary 
of 1899, a conclusion I do not think is justifiable in view of (a) the oysters met with 
here in 1869 and {I) its proximity (one mile north) to the Tundu Par which yielded 
ovsters at the fishery of 1900. It is noteworthy in this connection to observe that 
these Tundu Par oysters were not known to the Inspector prior to the fishery in 
question, being discovered accidentally by the divers on their way to the fishery 
ground on the Teradi Puli Piditta Par. Once again I feel driven to the conclusion 
that inspection work has too frequently been performed in perfunctory manner, with 
want of method and over too limited an area. Only ten times since 1860 has any 
attention been paid to this bank and in view of the imperfect method of inspection 
employed I am far from being convinced that the examination was efficiently carried 
out and that the results shown are reliable. In most years no note is supplied of 
the number of dives made, and in the abserice of this we have no guide to the thorough- 
ness of the work done. I shall return to a consideration of this vitally important 
subject when dealing with general conclusions. 

14. Tttkdu Par. 

A bank lying one mile south of Chodi Par at the same distance from land, depth 
from 9 to 9| fathoms. 

It appears to have been fourteen times examined in the course of the last 44 
years. In 1897 it was not examined ; in 1898 oysters were "plentiful, 35 to a dive, 
two inches in size and healthy in appearance " ; the succeeding year states " Nothing 
of value ", while in 1900 the fishing fleet stumbled by chance on a fine bed of oysters, 
fully four years old on thi3 very bank, a telling impeachment of the accuracy of the 
general results of the examination carried out in the preceding year ! The oysters 
plentiful in 1898, and missed at the regular inspection of 1899, would assuredly have 
matured and died unknown had the accidental rediscovery of the bed not been made 
by the diver3 on their way to the " official" fishing ground. 

The fishery of 1900 proves the good potentialities of this bank, which deserves 
regular and careful attention in common with all the groups in this neighbourhood. 
It is also to be noted to the credit of this bank that the oysters fished here in 1900 
were larger shells than those from the Teradi Puli Piditta Par and fetched better 
prices than the latter. 

* Inspection Beport, 1887. 



It was remarked that the Tundu Par casters were covered with weed, whereas 
those from the other par were practically clean.* 

15. Manapad Group. 

Under this name I propose to include a one ranked series of pars extending over 
6 miles north-east and south-west parallel with the coast between Triehendur 
Pagoda and Manapad point. They lie at an average distance of 8 miles from land. 
The depth ranges within close limits from 8 to 9 fathoms. 

Prom north to south the names of the constituent banks read — Triehendur 
Puntottam Par, Sandamacoil Piditta Par, Teradi Puli Piditta Par, Semman Patt Par, 
and Manapad Par, together with a few smaller rocky patches. 

Prior to 1885 these banks received scant attention and were seldom examined, 
under the impression I believe, that they were of little or no value. However in 1897, 
oysters ranging from § inch to \~ inch in depth were found on Sandamacoil Piditta, 
Teradi Puli Piditta, Semman Patt Par, Surukku Onpatu Par (Manapad Par appears 
omitted from every inspection since 1860 !) and in 1S99 well-grown healthy oysters 
were found plentiful on all the four banks. 

The following year the Teradi Puli Piditta Par was fished together with the 
Tundu Par already described. Unfortunately the quality of the oysters from the former 
par was too poor to encourage the divers to attend in large numbers and continue for 
a prolonged period. It appears possible that they were fished a year too early, though 
this is a point that was not definitely settled. 

The valuation of a sample of these oysters in the October preceding was reported 
to be Rs. 10-2-0 per 1,000 and according to the experience of many fisheries on the 
Ceylon side, the actual price obtained at the fishery following is invariably considerably 
higher. In the present cass Government had the utmost difficulty in obtaining 
the valuation figure and indeed were we to exclude the larger and finer Tundu par 
oysters, the price at which the Teradi Puli Piditta oysters were sold would be found 
to be below the sample valuation. 

It would be found of great assistance to Government and to buyers alike if 
a second valuation sample of oysters were drawn immediately prior to the fishery, say 
ten days preceding, in addition to the one obtained in the October or November of the 
preceding year. This is regularly done at the Ceylon fisheries and serves as an 
efficient check and corroboration both of the accuracy of the preliminary valuation and 
of the identity of the ground selected for fishing with that from which the first sample 
was taken. As showing the possibility of error in localization of patches of oysters 
when the organization is imperfect, are the two well-known instances of this given by 
Sir William Twynam, namely — 

(a) How in 1836 two beds of young oysters were fished in error instead of one 
bearing old and properly matured ones, and (b) how the fishery of 1860 on the 
Moderagam was all but lost, a long continued search of three days being necessitated 
ere the bed was rediscovered, f 

An omission which I cannot understand is the fact that no inspection was made 
of the Semman Patt and Surukku Onpatu Pars in 1901 as they bore oysters in 1899 of 
the same age and in the same abundance as those on the Teradi Puli Piditta Par. No 
examination of these was made in 1 900 and it is quite probable that patches of fine 
quality and large sized oysters might have furnished a fishery on these pars in the year 
named. This region in 19(Jl w T as by far the most important to examine and for some 
reason or lack of system the obvious was not carried out. 

Southern oe Comoein Division. 

Of the banks forming this division and stretching from Manapad southwards to 
Cape Comorin little is known. A list of some of these banks is given on page 103. 
Of these only the Manapad Periya Par appears to have received any attention. This 
bank lying in 5f to 7 fathoms is nearly 10 miles in length by about one mile 

• " Proceedings, Board of Reyenue, Madras," No. 208, Ootober 1900. 
t " Report on the Ceylon Pearl Fisheries ", 1902, page 20. 


in breadth, it lies from 6 to 10 miles off the coast, south-east of Manapad and 
about 5 miles south-west of the southern extremity of the Manapad group of pars. 
No information is given in the inspection summary of the character of the bottom. 
It would be advisable if the Inspector be instructed to pay special attention to this 
group during the next few inspections in order to obtain data for comparison of 
these banks with the better-known ones of the Central division. 

Historical evidence as already quoted points to some at least of these banks being 
occasionally productive. 1 know of no physical reason why such conditions should 

Northern or Kilakarai Division. 

The limits of the banks comprised in this category lie between Vaipar on the 
south and the Island of Edmesvaram on the north, a distance of 60 miles. In the 
past considerable attention has been devoted to their examination, very much more 
indeed than that given to those of the Southern division which are more deserving of 
such care. 

All these northern pars suffer from the excessive turbidity of the sea which 
prevails during stormy weather. The proportion of mud present in their sand is much 
greater than in the case of either the Central or the Southern division, and as 
a consequence pearl oysters exist in a condition of chronic starvation, are stunted from 
an early period and never survive to a fishable age, if we may judge by the records of 
the past 100 years and from the effects I have noticed in those experiments where 
I have kept oysters under circumstances simulating a like condition of silt-laden 

Much of this mud is derived from the rivers entering the sea between Vaipar and 
Pamban, mud which moves north-east up the coast during the south-west monsoon 
period. In several places eddies caused by the deflection of the current by the 
presence of the chain of islands lying parallel with this part of the coast conduce to 
the formation of mud deposits at definite localities, one of which we found between 
Nallatanni Tivu and Upputanni Tivu Pars ; other mud deposits are marked on the 
Admiralty chart. 

Between Kallatanni Tivu and Pamban the banks have all the useless character- 
istics of the Ceylon banks immediately south of Mannaar island and are distinguished 
by an inordinate luxuriance in growth and variety of Algae, such as Luurencia, 
Polyziphonia, Corallina, Chrysymenia uvaria, Halimida tuna, and Kallymenia perforata. 

Such pars are, I fear, uniformly valueless and unworthy of inspection oftener 
than once in four years. 

Greater attention is required in the southern portion of the division where there 
exists the possibility, rendered somewhat definite by the presence of the remains of a 
fishery camp on Nallatanni Tivu, of oysters some day maturing. The prospect is not 
hopeful but is sufficient to justify an inspection in alternate years. The pars requiring 
the most attention are the Upputanni Tivu, the Nallatanni Tivu and the Vembar 
Periva Pars. The two first lie four miles off the coast south and south-east of 
Yalinukam Point, the last south-east of Vembar village. 

The rocky bottom on all these pars is the usual brownish dense limestone calcrete, 
while the sand is in most cases rather finer than that from the Central and Southern 
divisions and the amount of mud mingled with it is very markedly greater in quantity. 

When inspection of this ground be made, diving and dredging traverses should be 
made over the whole of the ground at depths between 7J and 10 fathoms to the south 
and east of the two Tanni Tivu and Vembar Pars. Some of the ground we met here 
was distinctly promising, and being further from land and at greater depth the bottom 
is more free from mud than on the inshore banks. 

The characteristic organisms of the Tanni Tivu Pars are sponges in great abund- 
ance (see page 28 for names), various Gorgonoids, notably Juncclla juncea, an occa- 
sional Astraeid, the tubes of Eunice tuhifex and numbers of Pinna ; Modiola harbata 
(suran) generally absent. 

Kumulam Par is valueless, as are also Valinukam and "Valinukam Tundu Pars 
and some others in shallow water between Valinukam and Vembar. 




The outstanding conclusions of supreme importance to which my investigation of 
the records and natural characteristics of the Tinuevelly and Madura pearl banks has 
led are that the banks have latterly given inferior returns owing to — 

(a) The imperfections of past and present methods of inspection, and 
(5) Deficiency in the supply of divers when fisheries are held. 

Imperfect Methods oe Inspection. 

The Ceylon banks have certainly enjoyed larger measures of supervision and a 
more developed inspectional organization during the past half century than the Madras 
bauks and probably during the preceding 50 years as well. They were, however 
inspected in a very imperfect manner till the early sixties, when Captain Donnan 
iutroduced improved methods. Prior to that time, owing to the charts in use being 
imperfect and the landmarks insufficient in number and in conspieuousness, the 
Inspectors relied in great part upon information supplied by native headmen. The 
boats employed were often ill-adapted to the purpose and the search for beds was not 
conducted with anything approaching scientific precision. 

As already mentioned, Captain Donnan, who was Inspector from 1863 to 190?, 
organized matters on an improved basis and so far as nautical knowledge permits 
brought the mechanical part of the inspection to a high level of excellence. By the 
preparation of large scale charts, whereon he plotted every landmark of value and the 
outlines of many of the pars, he was enabled to dispense with the services of the 
headmen ; he abolished the unhandy " ballams " which served as the inspection divers' 
boats, introducing in their place a handy type of whale boat ; he elaborated an 
admirable system of " circle inspection" capable of supplying detailed information in 
regard to the minute features of the ground inspected — the respective numbers of old 
and young oysters present, the ratio of sandy ground to rocky and the distribution of 
oysters over it. He trained intelligent natives (Parawas) to act as coxswains of these 
boats and to record in diagram form the results of each and every dive made during 
the day's work. 

The present state of the Tuticorin inspection organization is similar to that 
characterising Ceylon inspection prior to the inception of Captain Donnan's improve- 
ments. Charts are imperfect and do not show the position of the chief landmarks ; * 
native pilots (par-mandadais) have to be employed ; circle inspection is not carried on 
in an adequate and systematic manner; native boats are still employed for the divers' 
use and no attempt has been made to train efficient coxswains to keep records of the 
Avork done with exactitude. As a consequence of such imperfect methods I am con- 
vinced that beds of oysters have been missed and fisheries lost from time to time. 
Such mischances certainly did happen on the Ceylon side under similar conditions. In 
the experiences given by Captain Steuart in his " Account of the Pearl Fisheries " 
his belief is several times stated that beds of oysters had repeatedly been missed and 
that even in 1836 a bank was lost and two or three beds of young oysters fished by 
mistake. He " attributed this in great measure to the clumsy boats used for inspec- 
tions and the ignorance of the native headmen ". Sir "William Twynam (" Eeport on 
the Pearl Pishery of 1888," page 13) in commenting on this has no doubt that want 
of proper landmarks, incorrect (or rather confused) compass bearings, incorrect charts 
and unsatisfactory inspections had a great deal to do with such lost fisheries — a conclu- 
sion which I cannot improve upon when commenting upon the past and present methods in 
use in the examination of the Tuticorin hanks. 

* See charts A and B in annexuree. 


I'ntil the present day, a sea-faring education has been considered the fitting 
mental equipment for Officers in charge of the Pearl Banks of Ceylon and India. Men 
who had passed their youth and early manhood on the sea were appointed, the impres- 
sion being that nautical knowledge and elementary marine surveying were the chief 
qualifications for these duties. Captain Donnan has been without doubt the ablest of 
these nautical Inspectors, but far as he carried the improvement of inspection methods, 
lack of biological knowledge prevented him from so economizing his time as to enable 
him to examine each season the whole of the potential oyster-bearing ground in his 
charge. In this way it was that often enough precious days and weeks were devoted 
to the examinaation of ground which a biologist would have decided at once to be 
unworthy of detailed circle inspection, while other large areas, biologically more 
favourable to oyster growth, had to be left wholly or partially unsurveyed for want 
of available time. 

A concrete instance of the imperfection of present inspection methods on the 
Tuticorin banks is afforded by the last fishery held, that of 1900. The bed to be 
fished was the Teradi Pali Piditta Par off Trichendur ; fishing went on there for three 
davs, but, on the fourth, some of the boats, owing to a strong head wind, were not able 
to fetch the proper bank and anchored three miles away on the Tundu Par, where to 
the surprise of everyone — officials included — they found quantities of oysters larger 
and apparently older than those on the advertised bank*. The inspection records for 
the preceding four years, if the examination had been efficiently carried out should 
have indicated the presence of oysters each year at this locality. The actual record 
is, however, as follows f : — 

\Hq\ •■• "Bare of oysters". 

"1S97 ... Not examined". 

" 1898 ... Oysters plentiful, 35 to a dive, 2 inches in size, healthy in appearance." 

"1899 ... Nothing of value." (sic !) 

The inefficiency of present inspection methods is palpable. The oysters fished in 
1900 were estimated by Captain James as four years old (he. cit), so that by the 
Inspector's own showing this particular bed was missed on two occasions out of the 
three that it was examined. Oysters do not and cannot migrate, and if the oysters 
seen in 1898 and fished in 1900, were missed in 1896 and 1899, we cannot do other- 
wise than condemn the character of the methods employed in inspection. 

Who can say how many similar oversights there have been ? Careful scrutiny of 
the inspection records show many suspicious entries. Take the Karai Karuwal Par, 
one of the most productive banks in this region. The records for 1897-1902 run 
thus : — 

" 1897 ... Large quantities of young oysters, healthy in appearance, If to f inch 

in size. 
" 1898 ... Oysters plentiful, 35 to a dive, 2 inches in size, healthy in appearance. 
" 1899 ... Hundred and seventeen oysters, 2| inches in size; among these eleven 

dead shells. 
"1900 ... Not examined. 
"190L ... Coral, weeds, pinna. No oysters. 
"1902 ... Not examined." 

Can we doubt that a fishery was missed in 1900 ? 

The records of the Velangu Karuwal Par and the Trichendur Puntottam Par 
are identical. 

On the Odakarai Par in 1899 there were " oysters, 20 to a dive, 2| inches in size 
healthy. A very small quantity of dead shells were found. Divers report that the 
undertow was very heavy and that they had much difficulty in keeping on* their feet. 
Large quantity of weed on this bank, " but no examination was made in 1900, 1901 
or 1902 ! 

Mr. Sullivan Thomas remarked the same discrepancies in the inspection records. J 
He says : — 

• " Madras Board of Rerenue Proceedings," No. 208, dated October 1900, page 4. 

+ Copied -from the Inspection Registers in the office of the Superintendent of Pearl Fisheries, Tuticorin. 
" Report on Pearl Fisheries and Chank Fisheries ", Madras, 1884, page 24, paragraphs 76 and 77. 



" Looking for instances of oysters that have boon obviously missed, we find that 
"in 1809, bauk6 15 and lb - contained oysters of 2\ and 3 years old in December, 
" where a blank was recorded in March of the same year. Again, in March of the 
" same year, bank 49 held ' many oysters of 1, 2 and 3 years of age,' which for want of 
" inspection had not been found before. In April 1S7S, banks 11 and ii> 'were 
"thickly covered with oysters of one year age ', and in May of the following year the 
" record is ' blank '. If they had not migrated and been missed, we might perhaps 
" have found some traces of at least a few dead shells. In 18S2, we find ' dead 
" shells ' of we know not what age on bank 20, which the previous year was 

"Banks 15, 16, 17 might seemingly have been fished in 1S70, but they were not 
"inspected. Perhaps Captain Phipps was away; perhaps the necessity for inspection 
" was lost sight of for want of statement P." 

I may add that long weeks before I made my investigation and before I had 
acquaintance with the facts above related, my most intelligent coxswain, a Tuticorin 
man himself, in reply to my inquiry if he had any theory why oysters came to 
maturity so seldom on the Indian banks, said " oysters often come, inspection not good, 
not wide enough ". He remarked that he and his people often said among themselves 
that if the Indian inspection was carried out in the thorough manner it is on the Ceylon 
side there would be more frequent fisheries. As he said, long ago fisheries were very 
good off Tuticorin and Kayalpatnam, — why should they now be so very few and 
unprofitable ? This opinion expressed, I believe, his honest belief ; there was nojad van- 
tage in deceiving me and at that time he had no idea that I was likely to have any 
connection with the Indian banks. Candid opinion of the native fishermen is often 
shrewd and well considered, and I agree cordially with Mr. Sullivan Thomas in his 
remark " as regards fisherfolk knowledge — it is marvellously good and should never 
be neglected, but at the same time always tested." * In other words the ideas of the 
local fishermen and divers may often furnish a valuable working hypothesis. 

Numerical Deficiency of Divers attending the Fisheries. 

Apart from any question of the fertility of the banks, the inadequate supply of 
divers attending the Tuticorin fisheries has frequently entailed disastrous financial 
consequences, notably in 18S9 and 1890. In those years large fisheries took place 
concurrently off the Ceylon coast, and as the Ceylon fisheries are believed by the 
divers to vield them better results than those on the Indian coast, it was with consider- 
able difficulty that any men were prevailed upon to attend the latter. This state of 
affairs was well known among the native merchants and all the more wealthy resorted 
accordingly to Ceylon as the market possessed of the greater attractions. Their 
abstention further influenced the results adversely. 

Take the fishery of 18S9 for example. In that year the Tolayiram Par was 
densely stocked with fine oysters nearly six years old. Captain Phipps, the then 
Superintendent of Pearl Fisheries, calculated that there were 309,760,000 oysters upon 
the bank; but for want of sufficient boats and divers the gross take, 12,600,000 oysters, 
barely reached 4 per cent, of the estimated total available. The average number of 
boats out per day was 35 ; the largest on any one occasion was but 48. 

The next year, when the oysters were dying off, an even worse state of affairs 
prevailed ; the average number of boats employed per day fell to 21 and the total take 
of oysters was a miserable million and three quarters (1,806,762), bringing in a paltry 
profit of Es. 7,803 to the Government. 

The ensuing year, as was to be expected from the age limit being exceeded, no 
oysters were found on the banks. 

The combined takes of 1889 and 1890 were under 11,500,000 oysters, so that if 
we accept Captain Phipps' estimate of over 309,000,000 on the bank in 1889, the 
Government harvested a wholly inadequate proportion of the crop. Can we justly 
characterize the Indian banks as being poor and unsatisfactory when one bank brings 
such a multitude to maturity in one year? Is it not more reasonable to lay the 

* Loc. cit., page 25, 


blame on antiquated methods and lack of foresight and method in organization ? The 
average price obtained per thousand in 1889 was Rs. 22-8-6 ; therefore if the organi- 
zation of the fishery had ensured, as it ought to have done, the lifting, we will not say 
of the whole 309,000,000 of Captain Phipps' estimate, but merely of a modest 
50,000,000 oysters, then, instead of taking but Rs. 1,89,986 in 1889, Government 
woidd have had a revenue of Rs. 7,50,000 — a preventible loss occurred of over 5 lakhs 
of rupees. 

The actual take was, however, as I have stated, but 4 per cent, of the estimated 
crop ; 96 per cent, was literally thrown away for want of the means to gather it in. 

To overcome the labour difficulty created by the preference shown by the divers 
for Cevlon when fisheries coincide in the same year on each side of the Gulf of 
Mannar, it was recommended by the Board of Revenue in August 1890 that efforts 
should be made to arrive at some arrangement with the Ceylon Government, the basis 
of arrangement to be either a division of the fishing season in point of time or a 
limitation of the number of boats employed upon the Ceylon side. 

Subsequently an agreement was actually arrived at * upon the former basis 
whereby when fisheries on the two sides of the Gulf should occur in the same season 
in anv future year, it was agreed that the Ceylon fishery should begin in February 
and close at the end of March, leaving April and May for the prosecution of the 
Tuticorin fishery. 

Prom the experience I have had of actual fishing conditions, I am of opinion that 
in practice this agreement will be found unworkable. The beginning of February is 
too earlv in the season to start fishing on the Ceylon coast. Divers will not attend 
till weather conditions become settled, till the intermonsoon lull begins, characterized 
bv alternating land and sea breezes and by clear limpid water free from suspended 
particles of mud and sand. 

No dependence can be placed upon the oncome of this period prior to the first 
week in March, and I cannot see how the Ceylon Government can agree to close their 
fisherv some three weeks after the date of actual opening and just when the fishing is 
probably at its best. Apart from governmental considerations such a proceeding 
would be deeply resented by the divers and the merchants ; if they were compelled to 
go, the fishery being summarily closed, the consequences would be felt at subsequent 
fisheries. The proposal is only practicable if fishing could be begun early in February 
and this as I have said is impossible owing to circumstances beyond the control of the 
Ceylon Government. Neither can the Ceylon Government limit the number of boats 
participating if there be sufficient abundance of pearl oysters to justify the work, 
indeed it would be an advantage to Madras if the Ceylon Government were able to 
obtain such a number of boats as would clear the bank to be fished in a limited period, 
as then the divers would be at liberty to depart and would be available for the Indian 
beds. However, even in the case of a cessation of the Ceylon fishery at the end of 
March, I am convinced that an Indian fishery in April and May would benefit there- 
by very little if the Ceylon fishery had been at all successful. At a fishery, such as 
the Ceylon one of this year, the divers make so much money as to be wealthy beyond 
their dreams of avarice for that year at least. The more prudent Moormen have made 
enough money to enable them to invest in new fishing nets, new boats, or jewellery 
and dowries for their women, while the thriftless Parawas find enough money in their 
pockets to hand a substantial sum to their Church and leave enough over to permit 
them to feast and be merry for several weeks or, perhaps, even months. 

Such men will be induced only with the utmost difficulty to undertake a second 
diving season hard on the heels of the first ; they will be restless, discontented, and 
eager to seize any excuse to get away. Witness what happened in 1890 when a 
number of divers returning from fishing on the Ceylon banks, were pursuaded to 
resume operations off Tuticorin ; only eight days fishing was obtained as the divers 
utilized with their usual skill the stalking-horse cry of " sharks on the banks ". As 
any stick is good enough to beat a dog, so any excuse is considered good enough to 
utilize when the divers for any reason wish a fishery to come to an end. At one time 
it is "sharks" ; at another, the alleged scarcity of oysters, " chippi illei". Illness, 

* Id February 1692, according to information supplied from the Colonial Secretary's office, Colombo. 


rumours of cholera, small profits, rough weather, chill winds, are all utilized with the 
utmost cunning but the true reason — that they have made enough money — is always 
kept in the background. 

Hence I conclude that relief must he sought in some other manner and that it is 
necessary for the Madras Government to proceed entirely independently of the Ceylon 
authorities and to accept, as an unpalatable but none the less living reality, the fact 
that till present conditions be radically reformed, the Tuticorin and Kilakarai divers 
have not the requisite confidence in the Tinnevelly pearl fishery administration to 
induce them to forego attendance at a Ceylon fishery when such clashes with one ou 
the Indian banks. 

Many years ago Captain Worsley, when acting as Supervisor of the Ceylon Pearl 
Banks, summed up his conception of the Inspector's duties towards the oysters under 
his charge in the dictum " find them, watch them, fish them ". I have shown that 
the organization of the Indian Pearl Fishery Department has failed notable in all these 
operations, lamentably so in 1889. 

Detailed inspection carried out with scientific accuracy by a capable officer 
endowed with biological knowledge and with acquaintance with elementary marine 
surveying, furnishes a sufficient remedy for the first and second of these administra- 
tive diseases ; the third is more difficult to cure, though much improvement might be 
counted on as certain to take place when the divers become aware of the improvements 
taking place in the methods of inspection. With confidence in their Inspector and iu 
the statements he might publish regarding the promising character of a bank about 
to be fished, many would, I believe, voluntarily remain at home in spite of Ceylouese 
counter attraction. 

This we must not, however, count upon till the new organization proves its 
efficiency by results, and we come back again to the problem, how can we fish a large 
number of oysters, say 50,000,000, during a fishing period not exceeding eight 
weeks (March and April), in spite of the defection of the great bulk of the local 
divers ? 

I can think of but two alternatives, (a) the utilization of mechanical means and 
(h) the drafting to the fishery of a sufficient body of Arab divers. 

Eegarding the former plan, although the character of the bottom on the Tolayi- 
ram Par is favourable to the employment of the dredge, the numbers of oysters to be 
dealt with are so enormous and the occurrence of fisheries so erratic and occasionally 
so long deferred, that at present I cannot see that this is a practicable solution, so long 
as the fishery be conducted by Government. A fleet of dredging vessels would be 
required and the maintenance of these cannot be justified till a cultural scheme be 
perfected which will ensure tolerably regular periodic (annual) fisheries. The most 
that is feasible is to fit the fishery steamer with dredging equipment and so enable 
her to do her share in the actual fishing operations.* The same equipment woidd 
serve for the dredging of young oysters for the purposes of transplantation, and it 
might also be utilized for the dredging of chanks, though I doubt whether the results 
from the last-named work would be sufficiently remunerative and would counterbalance 
the extra expenditure that would be occasioned in coal and oil. 

The alternative of obtaining a supply of Arab divers adequate to work the 
fishery is left us. It appears to me that if due precautions be taken to obtain true 
Persian Gulf divers in small gangs under men who can give adequate monetary 
guarantee for the good behaviour of the men supplied by them, that this plan is 
eminently feasible. 

At the present year's Ceylon Fishery (1901) 258 Arabs were allowed employment 
and Mr. Lewis, Superintendent of the Fishery, states in his report :j" 

* The results obtained during the Ceylon 6shery of 1905, show that an average of 35,000 oysters may he reckoned as 
the daily catch of a properly equipped small dredging steamer under good management. The cost of wage6 and upkeep is. 
considerably less than the value of the divers' share of oysters, so we find dredging to be a more economical mode of fishing 
than the employment of divers on the one-third share basis, provided work can be found for the steamer in the off season. 

t ".Reports on the Pearl Fishery of 1904." Sessional paper No. XIII, Ceylon, 1904, page 6, 


"As the fishery proceeded and the advantage of having them had become 
K apparent, I was prepared to take more. They gave very little trouble, and were 
"very useful both for the starting of the fishing and for keeping it going towards the 
" end. They were always most keen on going out, no matter what the weather was, and 
" they rather roughly handled a Jaffna tindal who started for the fishing one morning 
" but turned back because his sail split. They offered to mend it for him, but he said 
"he had no materials. Their indignation was great, and they were loud in their 
" complaints. They are as used to handling boats as they are to diving, and had 
" great contempt for tindals who were deterred from proceeding to the banks owing 
K to small accidents to their boat or gear." 

Further evidence of the good work and reasonable disposition of these Arab 
divers when treated justly, is afforded in Captain James' report on the 1900 Tinnevelly 
fishery, * his words being — '' At first there must have been quite 1,500 divers, of 
" which about 200 were Arabs. These latter I consider quite the best men to have 
" at a fishery, quiet, good-tempered and hardworking, and quite amenable to all 
" discipline, much more so than the Paravas who are a constant source of trouble, both 
" on the banks and in the Kottoo, where they were constantly being caught concealing 
" oysters, which of course were always confiscated . Only one Arab was caught 
" doing this, and his companions abused him for disgracing them. The Malayali 
" divers left the banks after the first few days as the water was too deep." 

Fortified with such favourable opinions from men who had to meet and control 
these divers ashore, where trouble is more likely to occur than at sea, I have no 
hesitation in saying that I have the highest possible opinion of these men and of the 
quiet, methodical, and energetic manner in which they conduct their work. I watched 
them at work daily throughout the last two fisheries, and they were ship -companions 
with me when toward the end of the 1901 fishery they agreed to fish from the 
Government steamers. 

Such daily contact afforded me opportunity to obtain insight into their characters 
and as a result I found them more willing to obey my orders and follow suggestions 
than either the Parawas or the Kilakarai Moormen — a result due naturally to their 
higher intelligence. Quick tempered they are and restive under even the suspicion of 
injustice, but withal reasonable and eminently amenable to fair treatment. Personally 
I should not hesitate to run a fishery entirely with Arabs, and if ordinary precautions 
were taken to exclude the scum of Bombay, I am satisfied that perfect order would 

During the north-east monsoon, numbers of these men visit the ports of Canara and 
Malabar, whence they might readily be obtained. f 

Banes op Greatest Value. 

Descending to matters of detail, the present investigation shows that certain of 
the Pars or rather certain groups of Pars are more worthy of particular attention than 
others. The same conclusion has been drawn with regard to the Ceylon Pars ; some 
are clearly to be classed as favourable to the maturing of oysters, while others — the 
majority — are wholly unreliable in this respect. 

Of the banks off the Indian coast, historical, physical, and biological evidence 
combine to show that the Tolayiram Par and the Kudamuttu and Karuwal groups of 
Pars are the highest in relative importance, bearing the more frequent spat falls and 
yielding the major number of the fisheries that we are able to localize. 

The Northern or Kilakarai division is of little economic importance ; prolonged 
inspection is not requisite in this region and the time formerly devoted to this purpose 
can be employed to better advantage in making more detailed examination of the Pars 
of the Central division and in carefully prospecting in the region lying between the 
Karuwal group and Cape Comorin. 

* '• Proceedings, Board of Kevenue," Madras, No. 208, 1900. 

t Since the above was written, I have had experience of another large pearl fishery, at which a largely increased 
contingent of Arabs, sorn9 2.000 in number, was employed. Their conduct was again eminently satisfactory. They gave 
no trouble whatsoever. 



The region last named has been neglected almost entirely in the past ; during 
the last 15 years only a small portion of the area has received any attention on thirteen 
occasions, -while many square miles of sea bottom have been systematically ignored in 
this region, which we have conclusive evidence to show formerly yielded fisheries. 

The Tolayiram Par deserves the Inspector's greatest attention ; it is the sole 
region seen during the investigation suitable for cultural operations. The bottom 
resembles the better parts of the Ceylon Oheval Par and like the latter premier bank 
is the largest among its fellows in individual area. It has also a favourable record 
for rearing its spat to maturity in great abundance. It may not receive so many spat 
falls as the Karuwal group, but from its superior exteDt one successful fishery here, 
is, if it be properly exploited by a sufficiency of divers, worth several of the smaller 
Karuwal group fisheries. 

The Tolayiram Par should be mapped into blocks in the. way in which I have 
mapped out the Ceylon Cheval Par (Annexure No. 8) and each of these should be 
carefully studied, periodically inspected, and the results shown graphically in chart or 
diagram form annually. 

Those parts of this region which came under my personal notice bore but small 
quantities of loose stony material, " eultch " as it is technically termed, a decidedly 
unfavourable factor, as the oysters need such material for the purpose of attachment. 
Attention should in future be given to this detail during inspection, in order to ascer- 
tain if this deficiency is, as 1 think it is, general over the whole area. In the event of 
this proving to be case means should be taken to increase the available quantity 
whenever an extensive spat fall is found to have occurred. 

Pearl Production — Causes op Death. 

Pearl production by the oysters fished in 18S9 on the Tolayiram Par, the only bank 
regarding which I have any data, was less rapid than that noted during the past two 
years on the Ceylon Cheval Par. On some sections of the latter satisfactory pearl 
production is found at the age of four years, valued at over Ks. 21 per 1,000 in the 
case of those fished in 1903, whereas the last oysters fished on the Tolayiram Par were 
at a similar age valued at but Es. 3-11-5 per 1,000. It was not till they attained 
the age of 5| years that they brought in an equivalent value (Rs, 22-B-6 being the 
actual average price per 1,000 at the 1889 fishery) to that of Ceylon oysters 1| year 
younger. The latter, however, were those from the richest known beds and there were 
others which at the same age — 3| to 4 years — were not rich enough in pearls to give a 
profitable fishery. Pearl production is, however, very variable and the yield by one 
generation is not necessarily a criterion as to what the next may furnish, even upon 
the same ground. 

Examination and comparison of the Tolayiram Par oysters of 18S7-90 with those 
of Ceylon give fairly satisfactory results in respect to shell growth. They are not 
equal to the finely grown oysters of the Cheval, but in general appearance are of a 
healthy type. They are nowise stunted-looking as so many of the oysters on the Pars 
more inshore are, or, as are the oysters characteristic of the Ceylon Muttuvaratu Par. 
But although they are distinctly of the Cheval Par type, they are of slower growth and 
the weight of the shells approximated closely to that of Muttuvaratu oysters. Given 
an abundant infection of pearl-inducing cestode parasites, the pearl production should be 
profitable in quality and quantity. This question is still one on which we are imper- 
fectly informed ; the life-history of the parasite is still unsolved, and till we know the 
animals which lodge the adult stage, we cannot formulate any plan for furthering the 
increase in numbers of those of the larval stage, whose presence in the pearl oyster 
controls the production of valuable pearls. 

The ratio of infection — and of consequent pearl production — varies greatly as is to 
be expected consequent upon the local abundance or otherwise of the host of the adult 
parasite whatever it may be, and also upon the relative profusion or scarcity of the 
oysters themselves. 

Time after time I have proved by the dissection of large numbers of oysters of 
the same age from different beds that the cestode infection may vary within consider- 
able limits and as a consequence the pearl yield is proportionately variable. Tor 


example in November 1902 samples of the same generation of 3| to 3J years old 
oysters were obtained from four different beds, with valuation results as follows : — 

ES. A. p. 

Periya Par Karai 13 4 per 1,000 

South-east Cheval 10 4 

Mid-east Cheval 18 3 „ 

North-east Cheval 23 2 „ 

[n March 1887, oysters of a similar age from the Moderagam Par gave a pearl 
valuation vield of but Rs. 9-14-3 per 1,000, while otber individuals of identical 
asje from the North-west Cheval in the same year were valued as low as Rs. 6-15-0 
per 1,000. 

Another instance of wide variation in pearl yield occurred in the valuation of the 
4 I to 4| years old oysters fished this year (1901) from the "Western Cheval. Three 
lots varied as follows : — 

ES. A. P. 

Soath-west Cheval 36 per 1,000 

North-west Cheval 33 12 „ 

Mid-west Cheval 20 4 

"With such wide divergence in oyster value from closely adjoining areas we can 
never be sure of the pearl yield from a particular bank till we solve the riddle of the 
pearl Cestode's life-history and are enabled to artificially increase the proportion of 
infected oysters — a matter for marine biological investigation. 

Meanwhile it is satisfactory to know that the oysters which the Tolayiram Par 
rears are of fair quality and capable of giving a high pearl yield. 

I have had no opportunity to inspect a series of successive generations of oysters 
from any other Indian Par. The individuals seen from the Devi, Cruxian, and other 
inshore Pars appear much inferior to those from the Tolayiram Par. They are small 
for their reputed age, stunted in growth, and much encrusted with sponges, corals 
and polyzoa. In general appearance they approximate to those Ceylon oysters that 
hail from rocky beds — from the Muttuvaratu Par and the Mid-west and North-west 

The Tolayiram Par is the bank by far best suited to rear healthy oysters in 
quantity. Unfortunately some of the characters which render it so suitable for this, 
expose the oysters to heavy risks from the depredations of fishes. The bare level 
bottom, free from clefts and crannies and boulders, gives the rock-perch and trigger 
fish ( VeUamin and Kilati) every facility to devour enormous quantities of oysters 
during the first year of their existence. The bank swarmed with these fishes in May 
last and the question of the possibility of the present young oyster population coming 
to maturity depends largely on whether there be many more oysters present than can 
be consumed by these fishes in nine months or a year. When about one year old 
the shells become stout enough to resist the sharp teeth of these fishes and the survi- 
vors have a fair chance of living the allotted span of oyster existence, if the bank 
be not harried by a shoal of oyster-eating rays (Rhinoptera spp.). These fishes, the 
principal enemies of the adult oyster, are often of large size, five feet or more across 
the disc and with mouth armed with milling teeth of great crushing power. They 
are able to feed only upon comparatively level ground and unfortunately the Tolayiram 
Par is of this character. On the Ceylon side, I once walked over an oyster bed 
ravaged at the most but a few days previously. The sight was one never to be 
forgotten ; everywhere the flat rock surfaces, originally densely packed with oysters, as 
evidenced by occasional clumps remaining, and by multitudes of torn byssal cables 
adhering still to the denuded surfaces, were stripped in large part. Wide lanes had 
been ploughed through, every oyster gone within the breadth of the lane. At frequent 
intervals lay piles of broken shells, crushed flat as if passed through a mill. 


It is a significant fact that this ground is particularly ;; clean ", free from cultch anil 
from any impediment to an auimal scraping the oysters off in wholesale quantities. It 
is ideal dredging ground. Equally significant is the fact that on rougher ground and 
on areas where bulky cultch occurs, no depredation whatever took place. From this 
I infer that the presence of fragmentary material is a safeguard against rays; they are 
unable to differentiate between oysters and rubble when feeding, and when the latter 
is present, mastication being prevented, the rays find the ground unsuitable and move 

Hence the cultching of the Tolayiram Par would serve two purposes of vital 
importance ; it would give additional and much needed holding ground to oysters 
and would tend largely to diminish the damage liable to result from the inroads 
of rays. 

Much more sediment i9 held in suspension in the water on the Indian banks than 
in the case of the Ceylon banks. I do not however consider that this exercises any 
greatly deleterious effects upon oysters on the outer banks of the central and 
southern divisions ; on the Kilakarai banks the profusiou of muddy sediment is exces- 
sive, as it also is on some of the inner of the more southern banks, and in such places 
we cannot expect any spat-fall ever to reach maturity. From the mouths of all the 
rivers along this coast great amounts of mud are poured forth annually and this in 
conjunction with the growth of new fringing coral reefs along the shore, each succes- 
sive one further seaward than its predecessor, causes encroachment upon the sea. 
The old p&rs are thus brought more within the harmful influence of river sediment. 
The process is an exceedingly slow one and the danger to the beds appears greater on 
paper than it is in reality, even though we know that Korkai, the Kolkhi of the 
Grseco-Romans of 1,800 years ago, and the great pearling centre of that day, is now 
several miles inland, and its successor, Kayal, converted as well from a flourishing 
seaport into an inland village. 

Again while the presence of so much sedimant is harmful, at least to the inshore 
banks, it has beneficial effects upon the prosperity of the chank-beds, which flourish 
most vigorously wherever there is a plentiful admixture of mud with the sand, 
especially if there be much organic matter present, as happens off the mouth of 

To this great abundance of mud is due the superior richness of the Tuticorin 
chank-beds over those in the neighbourhood of the Ceylon Pearl Banks, where the 
sand is composed largely of a coarse clean quartz- grit. 

Character op the Supervision requiked. 

To place the entire management of the pearl banks under scientific control i» 
the only way whereby the inspection methods can be satisfactorily reorganized and a 
permanent return to prosperity assured in regard to the pearl fishing industry. I can- 
not well improve upon the words used in 1884 by the Hon'le Mr. H Sullivan Thomas, 
then First Member of the Board of Revenue, in his very valuable report to Government 
on this fishery, namely : — 

" I think the deficiencies in the record of facts tend to show that though in 
" Captain Phipps the Government has had an intelligent and painstaking officer, he 
" has not been seconded by any scientific supervision anywhere, and that his active 
" interest in his duties might have been turned to better effect if he had had from time 
*' to time the assistance of some one who had leisure and appliances for adding a 
" scientific turn to his inquiries. It appears therefore that if the Government contem- 
" plate ever constituting a fisheries department, pearl fisheries should be combined 
" with it and have the advantage of any scientific knowledge that department may 
" have." * 

Looking at the matter from a practical point of view, I do not consider that under 
present circumstances it would be advisable to engage a qualified expert in economic- 
biology to devote himself solely to the care of the pearl banks, even though he be so 

* Loc. cit., -paragraph 96, page 2fL 


exceptionally qualified as to be able to combine the duties of marine biologist with 
those at present performed by the Superintendent-Inspector of Pearl Banks. 

To secure a really competent officer, a substantial salary would have to be allotted 
to the post and, as we know, pearl fishery work can only be carried out on the Madras 
eoast for a maximum of five mouths in the year, On the other hand, the potentialities 
of profitable research in other directions are practically unlimited and I think that the 
time is now ripe, and economic fishery science sufficiently developed, to carry out the 
suggestion of organizing a Fisheries Department as suggested twenty years ago by the 
Hon'ble Mr. H. Sullivan Thomas. 

If this were done, and an officer appointed as Director, he might be instructed to 
oixe his primary attention to the reorganization of the pearl bank inspectional 
methods, the proper charting and landmarking of the beds, the elaboration of a 
scheme for the culture of oysters — cultching and transplantation chiefly, the 
recruitment of an adequate diving labour force prior to any fishery and, if possible, 
the means for the mechanical raising of oysters by means of dredges and trawls. 

Control of the chank fishery should be placed with him. He would elaborate 
fishing methods, experimenting especially with a suitable modification of the oyster 
dredge ; if successful, he would take steps to ensure the adoption of such improved 
mothods by the native chank fishers. He would also investigate the feasibility of the 
artificial hatching and breeding of chanks — a promising departure that opposes few 
difficulties to success. 

Other shellfish of economic value are the Window-pane oyster (Placuna Placenta) 
and the Edible oyster. Large quantities of the former have been fished in a land- 
locked bav in Ceylon and the lease of this fishery has yielded considerable sums to the 
revenue in the past owing to the fact that these molluscs yield abundance of seed 
pearls. In the Madras Presidency they are found in several places in quantity — 
notably in Pulicat Lake, whereof the great area affords ample scope for the creation 
of an extensive industry. 

Beche-de-mer is an industry as yet little developed on the Indian coast and one 
susceptible of considerable enlargement. 

In the economic investigation and control of ordinary sea and fresh water fishing, 
the field for the exercise of the beneficient labours of a Fishery Department is bound- 
less. It is not necessary here to enter on these desirable developments in detail ; I 
will content myself with pointing out that the fish supply at many localities on the 
coast of the Madras Presidency might be greatly increased by the introduction of new 
methods ; that a wide field for remunerative trawling awaits the capitalist on banks as 
yet scarcely touched by the native fishermen ; that much help could be given to the 
latter by a fishery expert in teaching improved methods of net tanning and by experi- 
menting with new fibres, such as ramie, for the production of nets cheaper and 
stronger and of better lasting properties than the materials now in use ; that the 
cause of public health would be greatly served by the oversight that would be given 
to fish-curing yards. 

A general survey of present fishery methods would be one of the results of the 
working of the department suggested, and from the facts ascertained it would be 
possible to consolidate present fishery laws, modifying or enlarging the scope of such 
enactments as might be found advisable. 

The field for improving and augmenting the fish supply from fresh water sources 
is still more extensive. Practically nothing is done among the natives to improve the 
quality and the quantity of fish in tanks, a branch of work offering immense scope for 
well directed cautious efforts. The restocking of inland waters that dry up annually 
with selected fry of species characterised by rapid growth and good table qualities 
should be taught, encouraged, and organized on a practical basis. Were this done, 
the results obtained in other countries and even in some parts of Northern India 
justify the prediction that the fresh water fish supply of the Presidency would be 
doubled in quantity and greatly improved in quality within a very short period. 
Nowhere in the world are the potentialities of aqriculture greater than in India and 
as yet nothing has been done to utilise modern piscicultural knowledge. 




I. Improved System of Inspection. 

(a) The preparation of reliable charts. — The present charts of the Pearl Bank 
region are extremely unsatisfactory. The positions of none of the many landmarks 
dotting the whole length of the Tinnevelly and Madura coasts are shown. It is quite 
impossible to lay off the ship's position with exactitude upon certain of the banks 
because of this deficiency ; numbers of good marks — chapels, mosques, topes and the 
like — are in sight, but because their existence has been ignored by the cartographer 
they are practically useless for the purpose of the inspection of the banks, even 
actually misleading if we attempt to fix their positions on the coast line and fail, as is 
probable, in placing them correctly. This lack of beacon indications upon the charts 
is further adverted to in section d below. 

The scale of the charts in use — one mile to the half inch — is also too small 
for careful survey and for the insertion of the necessary details in regard to the 
distribution of oysters, rock, and sand in the areas inspected. 

All the charts used for fishery work should be on the uniform scale of 1 nautical 
mile to the inch. A 2-inch scale is unnecessarily great and is unwieldy to handle. 
It is a size especially inconvenient in making comparisons of surveys effected and in 
furnishing comparative diagrams of oyster distribution to accompany the periodical 
inspection reports. 

In the past there has been unnecessary sub-division of the potential oyster- 
bearing area, resulting in the creation of 64 so-called banks. Many of these are 
extremely small patches of rocky bottom often not more than half a mile long by 
a quarter in breadth. Many again lie adjacent to one another and hence lend 
themselves readily to a system of grouping. I propose therefore a grouping of the 
banks in the manner shown upon charts C and D (annexures III and IV). 

Each group may be denominated by the name of the best known bank included. 
The grouping suggested is that which has been detailed fully in the section dealing 
with the topography of the banks (vide ante p. 24) and which need not be here 

Accompanying the revised working chart, which should be put in hand at the 
earliest opportunity, should be a list of at least three cross bearings taken from the 
central point in each inspection circle (see infra). 

(b) Adoption of a system of detailed " Circle-inspection?' 1 — To ascertain the 
presence and distribution of oysters over the whole of the effective Pearl Bank region, 
an exhaustive examination by what I term " Circle-inspection " is absolutely essential. 

Any bank found bearing oysters should be inspected by this method so long as 
they remain, and all hitherto unexamined ground should be covered with a net- 
work of tangent circles to ascertain the distribution of rock and sand and the 
potentialities of oyster-bearing. 

Picked divers should be employed for the work and the services of the same men 
secured permanently by giving them either an annual retaining fee or an extra rate 
of pay. They should be placed under the charge of four inspection coxswains, 
also on a permanent engagement for the annual inspections in the same way as has 
been adopted with marked success in the Ceylon service. 

The banks grouped as suggested in the preceding section should next be 
mapped out into circular inspection areas which may be termed " Inspection- 
circles ", of 1^ mile in diameter, each denoted by a serial number and, where it can be 
done with advantage, by a distinctive name. The larger banks, like the Tolayiram 
and Manapad Pars, will require several circles to cover them, whereas in the ease of 
the smaller pars several will frequently have to be grouped within one circle. In the 
latter case, the circle for convenience may take the name of the largest or most 
important of the included pars ; in the former from its compass bearing. For example 
the four divisions of the Tolayiram Par may be denominated respectively the north, 
the central, the south, and the south-west sections, while the circle including the 
Karai Karuwal and the Yelangu Karuwal Pars may be termed simply the Karuwal 
section or circle. 


During examination the inspection vessel should moor as near the centre of each 
section as possible, and if to one side, modify the outer boat circuits to suit this as 
shown in the accompanying diagram. 

The black circle is the outline of the Pearl Bank section to be examined — 

(i) The ship's position. (d) A f mile semi-oircait. 

(£) The i mile circuit. (e) A 1 mile eeini-oircuit. 

(c) The J mile circuit. 

"With good landmarks, reliable compass, and painstaking endeavour it should 
not be difficult to anchor with approximate accuracy upon the centre of each section. 

The banks of superior value lie from south of Vembar to off Manapad, the Devi 
Par being the most northerly, the Manapad group marking the most southerly limit. 

Charts C and D (annexures III and IV) show the inspection sections which I 
propose. They are based upon the Pearl Bank chart at present in use and which in 
turn is based upon the Admiralty Chart of this part of the coast. 

Each of the circles, of which there are 35 according to my arrangement, is 
marked with its own distinctive number. The inspection of each circle should be 
completed in one morning, leaving the afternoon wherein to lift the twelve mark- 
buoys, shift the inspection vessel, locate the centre of the next circle, and to lay out 
the buoys for the following day's work. 

Given average fair weather, such an inspection would occupy six weeks. 

If the weather be favourable and other circumstances allow, I recommend that 
the whole programme be completed in one season, in which case, should the results 
show no considerable deposit of oysters to be present, the inspection of the following 
year may be greatly curtailed and be in the nature of traverse prospection rather than 
detailed circle inspection. Circle inspection and zigzag prospecting may be used in 
alternate years, but wherever oysters be found in quantity, detailed circle inspection 
with careful numerical estimates should be carried out annually. Where oysters of 
over 1\ years of age are known to exist, inspection should take place if possible tivice 
a year and a valuation sample drawn at the age of 3£ years and thereafter twice 
annually until such time as the valuation amounts to over Es. 10 per 1,000, where- 
upon it becomes incumbent to consider whether or not a fishery should be held at as 
early a date as possible. 

Details of the method of circle inspection. — The essential features may be stated 
as follows : — ■ 

Three flag-buoys are laid out by the attendant launch or tug-boat in the 
direction of each cardinal point of the compass at distances apart of a quarter of a 
mile, the inmost buoys taking their distance from the inspection vessel, which is 
anchored to serve as a pivot mark in the centre of the area to be inspected. 

Four inspection boats (modified whale boats), each manned by a crew of six, 
together with three divers and two munduks, under the charge of an experienced 
coxswain, take up equidistant positions between the ship and the first buoy on the 
north line and row slowly round the ship, retaining their relative positions the while. 
At regular intervals the crews rest on their oars to allow the divers opportunity to 
make descents. The result of each dive is reported to the coxswain of the respective 
boat, who records it upon a diagram with which he is provided. 


The four boats having each performed a complete circuit are next ranged in 
line abreast in the same manner as before, between the quarter and the half mile 
buoy and each makes a second circuit. Tbe day's work is completed by a third and 
last "circle, in this case between the buoys distant respectively half mile and three- 
fourth mile from the ship. 

The four boats make a total of twelve concentric circuits, each boat making 
three. The results shown upon the coxswains' diagrams — each of which has three 
concentric circles drawn upon it (see plan No. Y) representing the three circular paths 
covered — are transferred by the Inspector to a final diagram or plan furnished with 
twelve concentric circles. When this has been done the distribution of old and of 
young oysters is graphically shown for a circular area having a diameter of a mile 
and a half (plan VI). 

After calculating in square yards the area occupied by oysters the approximate 
number thereon may be estimated by taking the average number of oysters per dive 
(ascertained by scrutiny of the divers' results) in conjunction with the average 
amount of ground which a diver is credited with being able to clear at one descent. 
Usually this area is considered on average ground to be from two and a half to 
three square yards. By assuming the area per dive to be_ three square yards the 
danger of an overestimate is avoided. 

(c) Purchase or charter of an inspection depot ship. — To carry out inspection 
satisfactorily I recommend that either a schooner be built, purchased, or chartered, to 
serve as the head-quarters or dep6t upon which the inspection staff of divers and boat 
men may live. 

If purchased or built specially, the latter of which would be the more economical 
and satisfactory plan in the long run, cooler and more commodious quarters could be 
fitted up than upon a steamer, and being wooden there would be practically no 
liability to error in the accurate taking of compass bearings. 

A steam vessel would be required for towing purposes. The tC Margarita " 
might be used for the present and when it becomes necessary to replace her, the next 
vessel should be a screw steamer built and fitted specially for dredging and towing so 
that when not engaged in the latter duty, she might be used for the dredging either 
of chanks or of fishable oysters for market and for valuation sample. 

Meanwhile the " Margarita " should be altered and fitted to serve dredging 
purposes for which she is by no means unsuited. 

(d) Beacons to be charted and improved, — An improved scheme of landmarks 
should be provided and the positions of the several beacons accurately fixed on the 
chart. It is almost incredible that none are marked on the charts in use ; the 
Inspector has to roughly guess their relative position to the headlands and indenta- 
tions of the coast indicated on the chart. Even the Admiralty Chart, which is 
wonderfully accurate in other respects, shows the position of but a very few with 
precision — the others either being omitted or not defined with exactitude. In taking 
bearings from the sea, it is of little value to see upon the chart a number of marks at 
a certain spot indicating the presence of a conglomeration of buildings ; we require 
the position of the most conspicuous one to be placed with precision. 

The beacon on Yantivu should be increased in height and an additional one erected 
on one of the islands to the northward. 

(e) Improvements in recording the details of inspection results. — The officer in 
charge of the Inspection of the Pearl Banks should be directed by the Government to 
insert in the records kept in his office as well as in the report furnished by him to 
Government at the termination of each inspection, the following details concerning the 
condition and abundance of the pearl oysters and associated organisms met with on 
each of the inspection sections, namely : — 

(I) The number of individual dives made upon each group of pars, and the 
number of those where oysters were found, together with the average number of 
oysters per dive over the whole of the productive ground. Not less than 300 dives 
should be made upon each section, if a reliable conception of the character and condi- 
tion of the area under examination is to be arrived at. The number of dives made 
upon the banks in the past, even upon the important Tolayiram Par, have been 
totally insufficient. The Tolayiram Par is of such large extent that four inspection 


circles are needed to cover it adequately, equivalent therefore to a total of 1,200 dives. 
From the office records I notice that in 1890, ninety dives were made ; in 1892, 158 
dives ; in 1896, 220 dives — far too few to give a reliable conception of the condition 
of the bank as a whole. 

Other banks fared even worse. Taking some figures at random I find that 
12 dives were made to suffice for the Alluva Par in 1886 and 32 in the following 
year. On the Tundu Par 35 dives were made in 1885, 31 in 1887, 7 (!) only in 
IS 39. On the Karai Ivaruwal Tar, one of the most frequently productive of the 
Indian banks, a sorry seven dives sufficed for the examination of 1888, while the 
Yelangu Earuwal Par had 74 dives in 1887 and 63 in 1891. 

(2) The average weight and dimensions of an average sample of the living 
oysters found in each locality should be recorded with exactitude. Where the 
oysters are numerous, the sample should be as large as possible to diminish the possi- 
bilities of error. The weight should be recorded in pounds, ounces, and drams, and 
where possible 100 oysters should be weighed together. In expressing the average 
weight of the individual oyster it might be useful to express the result in grammes, 
as the metric sj stem is more convenient for the purposes of comparison than avoirdu- 
pois weight. 

When there are large numbers of oysters present and possibilities of an 
eventual fishery, the cleaned (empty) shells of 25 individuals should be averaged in 
like manner. 

I think it probable that we shall eventually find the average weight per shell 
the most reliable guide in ascertaining whether g-owth be satisfactory or not and also 
in ascertaining the approximate age of oysters of unknown history. 

In the same way I recommend the dimensions to be recorded in centimeters 
and millimeters, recording the length, depth, and thickness of 25 individuals taken 
haphazard and without selection from the samples brought in by the divers. 

The length is the greatest horizontal distance between the anterior and the 
posterior margin of the shell taken parallel with the hinge-line, as shown upon the 
accompanying diagram. The depth is the longest line that could be drawn (measured) 
at right angles to the line of greatest length ; it extends from the hinge to the most 
ventral point of the free margin of the shell. 







The anterior aspect of the shell can readily be distinguished as such because 
of the presence of the byssus at that side. 

The thickness should be measured by means of a pair of callipers, clasping the 
jaws upon the thickest part of the oyster, a point indicated in the diagram by the 
letter A. 


(3) The general outward appearance, stunted or of free vigorous growth, should 
be stated and also whether the oysters be extensively covered or not with sponges 
aud other crusting organisms in exceptional degree. 

(4) The comparative abundance of the following animals should be noted, so 
far as it is possible to ascertain the facts : — 

(a) Chanks (with a view to utilizing this knowledge in further exploiting 

the chank fishery). 

(b) Starfishes (especially the scarlet-lake coloured Pentaceros lincki, a great 

enemy of the pearl-oyster). 

(c) Eockfishes and Trigger-fishes ( Vellamin and Kilati). 

(d) Suran (Modiola barbaia). 

(e) False-spat {Avicula vexillum). 

The abundance of sea-weed might also be recorded. 

Charting the results. — Each of the four Inspection Coxswains should fill up, each 
day that circle inspection be employed, a diagram form similar to that shown in 
annexure V, while the Inspector should the same day transfer to a master — form 
(annexure VII) provided with twelve concentric circles, the information contained in 
the diagrams furnished by the four Coxswains. 

By this means he will be enabled to lay down the extent of the rocky bottom 
present, and later, when the entire inspection is complete, the outlines of these areas of 
rock should be filled in upon a skeleton chart. The final results, if carried out with 
care and accuracy would provide material, in the course of a few years' work, 
sufficient to enable a revision of the Pearl Bank chart to be undertaken, in respect of 
the par outlines or boundaries. 

The resultant chart would then indicate the rocky areas which remain compara- 
tively free from sand from year to year, i.e., the mean distribution or exposure of 
rocky bottom during normal seasons. If the distribution of oysters be also shown 
upon another similar skeleton chart, comparison of a series of these with the rock 
distribution chart would show if any part of the sandy areas frequently bear oysters, 
and what parts, if any, bring their oysters to maturity most regularly. 

Further and much needed light would also be shed upon the relative value of 
different sections and would lead probably to a concentration of effort upon certain 
patches, while others might be found so uniformly unprofitable as to be ignored there- 
after, whereby time would be economized or devoted more usefully to the more 
favourably situated pars. 

The Inspector, when he furnishes his periodical reports, should accompany it by 
the two charts named — one showing the distribution of rock and sand over the ground 
examined, and the other that of the distribution of oysters, a separate colour being 
used for different ages, the average size being given of each age. 

Copies of these charts should be kept in the Inspector's office, and bound into 
permanent form every few years for the purpose of future reference. 

II. Regulations affecting the Capture of Fish upon the Pearl Banks. 

Whenever a large deposit of young oysters be found on any of the pars, if there 
be little suran present, I recommend that encouragement be given to fishermen 
to go there and fish for Vellamin and Trigger-fish {Kilati) as these are the great 
enemies of the pearl oyster at this age. 

Stone anchors should, however, be interdicted, and the use of grapnels or iron 
anchors insisted on. 

At other times, except when the pearl oysters are in tbeir third year, 1 should 
recommend fishing to be permitted with the one restriction regarding the non- 
employment of stone anchors. 

When oysters on a bank approach maturity probably it would be advisable to 
prohibit fishing— this chiefly for two reasons, the one being the danger of disturbance 
of' the oysters, and the other that at this time sponge-eating fish (Holacanthus spp.), 
Gymnodonts, Vellamin (Lethrinus spp.), and Trigger-fish perform a useful function in 
devouring and helping to keep under various competing organisms, sponges, small 
molluscs (suran and brood oysters), and crusting growths that overload and overrun 
the valves of the older oysters. 

III. Determination of Surface-drift over the Banks. 

An accurate knowledge of the movement of the surface-water over the pearl 
banks is a matter of the utmost importance in their management. Without this 
knowledge we cannot form even an approximately accurate idea of the source whence 
comes the spat that from time to time replenishes one or other of our banks. So 
long as we are in the dark upon this subject, we cannot define in what location a 
reserve of oysters should be to produce the most useful results. There are banks so 
situated as to be normally of no breeding value, of no importance in replenishing 
the banks which are our reliance ; conversely certain banks must be of supreme 
importance in the conservation of our beds, and it is obvious that information on these 
points is of vital importance in the farming of the banks. It should be ascertained 
whether any proportion of the spat that settles, say on the Toiayiram Par, originated 
from the oyster beds on the Ceylon side of the Gulf of Mannaar, whether the converse 
be the case, or again whether there be mutual interchange of spat. 

The plan offering the greatest advantages is to obtain the co-operation of the 
Ceylon Government in order to secure both uniformity of method and mutual assist- 
ance in carrying on this investigation. I recommend that batches of small sealed 
bottles, each containing a post card inscribed in English and Tamil, be thrown into 
the sea, at intervals and places yet to be determined, on both the Indian and the 
Ceylon side of the Gulf of Mannar, and that small rewards be given to those finders 
who place the cards in the hands of the nearest revenue officer or native headman, 
who would despatch them to the authority appointed, with particulars of the date and 
place of recovery. 

After investigation on these lines has been carried out systematically for two or 
three years, it will become possible to determine the place of origin of much of the 
oyster spat, and we shall be enabled to trace the course of its wanderings while in the 
larval swimming condition, and in consequence know where to conserve breeding 
reserves of oysters for the further replenishmeat of the banks. 

IV. Culture of the Banks. 
(a) and (b). Transplantation and Cultching. — The principal means whereby the 
banks can be permanently improved and the quantity of fishable oysters increased 
lies in the adoption of the correlated operations of cultching and transplantation of 
young oysters. The latter is admittedly the most important cultural means at our 
disposal for increasing the harvest of the pearl banks and I am of opinion that it 
might be adopted with very favourable financial results on certain of the Tutieorin 
banks, notably upon the Toiayiram Par, provided there be proper organization of the 
direr labour-force, so that when the oysters become of fishable age we may be assured 
that the means will be adequate to bring the greater part of them ashore during the 
limited available season of favourable weather. 

If this long-standing labour difficulty be removed I advise the fitting up of the 
inspection steamer as an oyster dredger in order that, when young oysters are found 
in profusion upon unsuitable ground, a substantial proportion may be transferred to a 
bank where the conditions are favourable to the maturing of oysters. My experience 
with the Ceylon dredging steamer " Violet" shows that from 500,000 to 700,000 
oysters of the size attained in six months, may be transplanted during each day's 
employment, equivalent to a transplantation of from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 per 
month — extremely satisfactory figures. 

The Toiayiram Par is a suitable bank and there I should advise the laying of 
any oysters lifted from other localities, as it is in many ways the best for this purpose. 
It has, however, the great defect of possessing an insufficient quantity of loose 
stony fragments spread over the major part of the surface. To fit it to receive and 
protect the oysters transplanted there to and to give satisfactory fishery results, I 
recommend whenever transplantation is in operation that several hundred tons of 
broken coral obtainable from the reefs fringing the coast in many places, be spread 
over the bottom where the transplanted young oysters are laid. The cost would be 
comparatively small, as coral collection is a local industry at Tutieorin and as the 
laden ballams and dhoneys would proceed direct from the Hare Island reef to the 
bank, where their cargoes would be scattered over culture areas marked out by meana 
of flag- bearing buoys. 


(c) Cleaning of the Banks. — In this, as in the matter of cultcliing, we may with 
the greatest advantage profit by the experience of European oyster-oulturists, who 
liud it absolutely necessary to check the growth upon the banks of all organisms other 
than oysters. Not only must those that are active enemies of the oyster (starfishes, 
whelks and the like), be destroyed, but also those animals that curtail the area thai 
oysters may occupy, and which also consume food that would otherwise fall to the 
oysters. Sea weeds too are ruthlessly rooted out. As a consequence much of the 
ovstcrmen's time is taken up iu cleaning the beds by means of the dredge. If the 
beds are in preparation to receive spat, all harmful matter is taken ashore — starfishes, 
whelks, mussels, and the thousand and one animals that may be termed the passive 
enemies of the oysters — where it finds a ready sale as manure. Sea weeds share 
the 6ame fate, while all solid material that is overgrown with any form of life is 
regarded as " foul ", and laid out on the beach to be cleansed and bleached by the 
combined influences of snushine and rain. 

Unfortunately many of the Tuticorin banks, the Tolayiram Pdr 'being a notable 
exception, are more or less u foul ". Sponges, corals, alcyonarians, echinoderms and 
ascidians abound on nearly all the inshore pars, as for example, the Uti, Uduruvi, Kilati, 
and Kudamuttu Pars and such oysters as live there are stunted and poor, suffering 
by competition with the host of creatures living upon the same diet of microscopical 

The only means to clean a bed is to dredge it thoroughly, separating and treating 
the materials brought up in the way above described. 

The Indian banks are too extensive to permit of dredging being undertaken with 
this sole object in view, but, as this cleansing can and should go on concurrently with 
the dredging of spat for transplantation or of mature oysters for sale, we have herein 
one of the chief arguments in favour of taking up dredging on a scale of considerable 
magnitude. Sight should never be lost of the fact that dredging has four-fold utility, 
namely, (a) fishing oysters, (b) cleaning ground and removing enemies, (c) in thinning 
out overcrowded beds, and (d) spat transplantation. Its value is not properly 
assessed if account be taken of the first item alone or even of the first and the last. 

Every live coral removed and replaced by a fragment of clean cultch may mean 
the addition of three oysters at the next fishery; every starfish destroyed does mean 
scores of oysters saved from destruction ; every Clione-riddled block of coral bleached 
on the shore will tend to reduce the widespread havoc this inconspicuous sponge 
causes amongst the oysters. The immense advantage that accrues from keeping the 
banks in a state of thorough cleanliness can well be appreciated by an agriculturist 
who knows how his crops fall off if weeds be allowed to run riot unchecked, if fungoid 
and insect pests be ignored, if the soil be never disturbed and if sun and air be 
excluded therefrom. 

(d) Thinning out of oysters. — The evil effects attendant upon overcrowding of the 
ovsters which so often takes place upon certain of the Indian banks have been laid 
stress upon, and I think sufficiently demonstrated. The remedy suggested consists 
of thinning out at suitable time. The dredge again is the only remedial agent. 
Thinning out, transplantation, and cleaning the bank may all proceed conjointly — 
the thinned out oysters being deposited on unoccupied ground, while the foreign 
organisms and the cultch materials will be taken ashore, the former to be destroyed, 
the latter to be bleached. 

V. Creation of a Fisheries Department. 

A Fisheries Department should be constituted under scientific control and 
the work of inspection of the pearl banks and superintendence of the chank fishery 
transferred thereto as the most important duties under its control. 

Such a plan would enable these two important departments to be developed 
economically and on sound practical lines, would enable attention to be given to the 
development of other fishing industries, marine and fresh-water, at present under no 
scientific supervision, and finally would set free the Port Officer at Tuticorin from 
work foreign to the important duties involved in the charge of the port and harbour 
of Tuticorin, which would then receive his undivided attention. 


February 1905. Marine Biologist to the Govt, of Ceylon. 





Appendix A. — An account of the condition of the Coast of Madura and of the Pearl Fisheries there in 1663, from 

Valentyn's "History of the East Indies," 1724-26, Volume V, page 164 86 

„ B.— Detailed financial statement of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery of 1691 .. .. .. ,. .. 87 

„ C. — Instructions defining the extent of the respective rights of the Dutch, the Nayak, and the Setupati 
at Pearl Fisheries in the Gulf of Mannar, given to the "Senior merchant " at Jaffna by 
Governor Eumpf in 1722 .. 89 

D. — Renting out of the pearl banks. Advantages to be gained by Government from renting out of 
the pearl banks, as set forth in a despatch to the Governor- General of the Dutch Indies, by 
Van Gollenesse, Governor of Ceylon, in 1744 . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . 90 

,, E. — Tabulation of the results of the Inspections of the pearl banks off the Indian coast of the Gulf 
of Mannar from 1885 to 1903 inclusive. (A continuation to date of thel records given in 
Mr. H. Sullivan Thomas' " Eeport on Pearl Fisheries", etc., Madras, 1884) 93 




" 1663. Madura. — Under the Coasts of Madura are included the seven ports or harbours, 
and the country of the Prince Ragonada Catta Theuver, commonly called the ' Teuver, ' with 
whom we are on good terms. His contract, written on copper, is hereunto annexed. But we 
consider a further description necessary of the Gulf between Ceylon and Manaar, and we shall 
commence with the island Ramanacoil, which is in the inner Bay, and makes a narrow separa- 
tion between the Continent of India on the one side and Adam's Bridge on the other, but the 
passage, with the highest water towards the land is scarcely six feet deep. This passage is 
called Pamben-aar, signifying, on account of its many windings and curlings, the ' Snake 
River ' which gives the Theuver sufficient profit not only from the tax laid upon the Pass, but 
also on account of the excursion over to the Island, on which there stands a very old pagoda 
of their much revered idol Ramana, to honour whom people come from Hindostan, Orissa and 
Bengal, from which circumstance it may well be imagined that a tolerable revenue is derived. 

"This said Teuver is subject and tributary to the Naick of Madura ; but since we have 
entered into terms of alliance and friendship with him, he cares far less for the Naick than he 
did previously ; but he greatly respects us, knowing that it is in our power to take this island of 
Ramanacoil from him, and therefore we can always retain him to our interests, as a balance 
against the great power of the Naick, although it is not by any means_requisite that we should 
show any great deference to either the one or the other. 

" The western lands of the Theaver are situated next to Ramanacoil, farther eight or ten 
miles in the Gulf, within which lie his principal places on the sea-coast, named Wedale Peri- 
patnam, Killekare and Wallemoeke, over which we have no authority. But still farther to the 
west follow By-paer, Bem-paer, Pattenemandoer, Tcetecoryn, Pondecail, Cailpatnam and 
Manepaar, constituting the j' Seven Harbours,' all (excepting Cailpatnam, whose inhabitants 
are principally Moors) being inhabited by Christian Parruas, and provided with commodious 
churches. The number of these Christians consist at least of 20,000 families, maintaining 
themselves chiefly by diving for chanks, catching fresh fish, and diving at the pearl-fisheries 
when they take place, and which last employment gives them their chief profit, and causes them 
to live comfortably. These Parrua Christians are all under the Government of the Honourable 
Company, since the conquest of Tntucoryn, and they have readily submitted to our power on 
account of the prompt justice which we afford them. The poorer classes are more especially 
well satisfied with our Government. 

" Great care should always be taken to treat the people with justice and prudence, and to 
place a mild and sensible person as their Captain, for they are, like all Malabars, of a capricious 
temper and easily migrate if they are not well treated. We have used great efforts to bring 
the people to our religion, but as long as the Naick of Madura, or his regent Barmiliappa Pulle 
do not adopt a course different from their present one, and do not specially banish the Eomish 
priests, we shall have little chance of attaining our object. 

" Pearl Fishery.— The whole of the inner gulf was always under the authority of the King 
of Portugal, during the time of his possessing Ceylon and Tutucoryn, and on that account the 
Portuguese always took to themselves the full empire of the sea, including the income of the 
pearl-fishery, which is of some consequence, particularly when diving can take place on all the 
banks at once, as used frequently to be the case ; but for some time the banks of Mannaar have 
given no profit, although the revenue from them was once the most considerable, and it is now 
fixed that they should be tried next March. But as there is some distinction with regard to the 
Company's interests between the banks of Tutucoryn and those of Manaar, we must give a 
farther account of them. Whenever the pearl-fishery is limited to Bempaer, Bypaer, and as far 
a3 Tutucoryn, all the oysters must be brought ashore at the last place, the market being held 
there and at Pondecayl, from which the Armane (as the Court of Madura is named) draws a 
lar^e revenue. The Moors are, with our permission, allowed to fish also, but they are bound 
to pay a large duty to the Company as may be seen in. the Report of M.M. Valckenberg and 



" The fishery of Tutucoryn gave last season a profit of 18,000 florins, as appears by the 
books of our factory at that place. Whenever a pearl-fishery may take place at Man-aar, the 
Company may expect much larger returns, for then the oysters will be brought ashore at Aripo, 
about three miles distant from Mauaar, or Mautotte, being a place on the Company's own 
territory, and where the sale of the pearls will then be held. Y.E. should take care that a 
guard be stationed, to watch against irruptions of the Wannias, Wedas, or King's people, and 
in order to give confidence to the divers for themselves and their boats. If there are 100 
soldiers and 100 lascoryns, the guard will be sufficiently strong, if Mauaar and Jafinapatam 
have their garrisons also strengthened." 

(From the Memoir left by Governor van Goens for the guidance of hi6 successor Governor Hus'.aart, 26th Decembei 





(Translation feom the dutch official record.) 

Free. Stones of the Natch of Madura, The Theuver, The Pattangatyns of Jaffnapatam, Manaar 

and Tutucoryn, according to old Customs. 

96ij- different free stones of the Naick of Madura in six boats, viz. : — 


4 Christian stones, at 6-| Rds. each ... ... ... 26 

1 Gentoo stones, ... ... ... ... ... ... 9 

9 lj- Moorish stone at lli Rds. each ... l,052i 





60 Moorish stones in three boats for the Theuver (of which 

1 is given to the Maniagaar of Pambenaar) at 1 1-J- 
Rixdollars each ... , ... ... ... 690 

9 stones to Pariboe-neyna, Head-Moorman, viz. : — 

7 Christian stones at 6|- Rds, ... ... ... ... 4t^- 

2 Moorish do. at ll| „ 23 


The following to the Pattangatyns of Jaffna and Manaar : 
43 stones, namely : — 

10 for the Pattangatyn Moor of the Parruas of Mannnaar, 

Jan de Cruz. 
10 to Anthony de Melho, Head Pattangatyn of Carreas. 
8 to the Nayenkarreas, namely : 

2 at St. Pedro. 

2 at Pesale. 

1 at Tellemanaar. 

2 at Ikelampalle or Lugaar. 
1 at Aripo. 


3 to the Pattangatyn of Jaffnapatam, Don Rodrigo. 
3 to the Pattangatyns of the Carreas. 
3 to the Pallewellys. 

3 to 3 Greneral Pattangatyns of Parruas, Carreas and 

1 to the Head Moorman of Jaffnapatam. 

2 to the Pattangatyns' Canacapulles. 

43 at 6J Rds. each 279£ 

_ i 

181 stones to the Pattangatyn of Tutucoryn, viz. : — 

130 to Pattangatyns, 1 Canacapulle and the Topas Moor- 
man, each 26 stones. 

6 to 2 Head Pattangatyns. 

3 to 3 Canacapulles of the Community and of the 
Pattangatyn Moorman. 

1 to the Bazaar Guard. 
1 to the executioner. 
40 to 40 common Pattangatyns of the seven harbours. 

181 stones at 6£ Rds. each ... 1,1 76£ • 

Total 369£ stones valued at Rds. 3,301 J 


Financial Account of the Pearl Fishery of 1G94. 



Expenses for tlie inspection of the pearl banks at 
various times from the year 1607 (2nd Fishery) 
to 169-1 ('<rd Fishery) as appears by the books 
kept at Manaar 

To expenses incurred for the same purpose at 
Tutucoryn, as appears by the commercial books of 
that place and of Manaar 

Expenses at this fishery, namely, expense of soldiers 
and sailors, lascoreens, cooly hire, arrack, 
medicine, and sundry expenses of the Commis- 
sioners according to their separate account 

Cost of 389|- free stones, which according to old 
custom are not paid for — see separate account. 

To the Shroffs who counted and sorted the money 
and prepared it for being paid over 

Clear profit ... 



Stones purchased in the fishery and paid for, namely :— 
1,690 Christian stones paying 6|- Rds. each 

204 Gentoo do. do. 9 do. ... 

1,268 Moorish do. do. 11 J do. 

Customs formerly collected by the Topas-Moor of 
Tuutcoryn, but now taken by the Company and held 
at the disposal of the Governor and Council of 
201 Gentoo stones at 1 fanam each. 

1,014 Moorish do. 2 do. 

12 ounces, 17 angels, and 3 as of pearls gained from 
oysters brought up by the divers of the Company 
as Wally, sold for 

Sifting the sand where the pearls were laid 

134 ammonams of concealed arrack found in the 
bushes and out-of-the-way places at 6 Rds. the 

Deduct two-thirds given to the discoverers of the 

till 1 iLC* lv • I • • • a i i ■ • ■ a aii • •• 


6,767 16 5 

2,493 1 11 
9,260 18 



: 5.217 

= 9,905 

= 120 




The amount of the rent of the ' change, ' of the bazaar, 
and of the clothes shop, viz. : — 

The ' change' ... 

The Bazaar 

The Clothes 

florins 87,561 9 















Total ... Rds. 29,187^ 

or fl 87,561 9 

Thus drawn up in the Fishery to the S. of Aripo, 7th May 1694. 

(Signed) FLOWS BLOM, 

( „ ) A. BERGAIGNB, 

( „ ) D. DE CHAVONNE3. 




TSxi -ousts from a despatch, dated 20th January 1722, from the [Extraordinary Councillor and 
Governor of Ceylon, M. J. A. Rumpf, and his Council in Colombo, addressed to the Senior 
Merchant and Chief Authority at Jaffna, Jacob deJoiig, and his Council there* 

" It is now upwards of 22 years since the Company has indulged its own subjects or 
strangers with any fishery in the Bay of Condatchy. 

■'• The Valy, or general fishing on the Company's account, is together with the payment 
for the stones, a double token of the Company's sovereignty over the divers and the Banks 
from Cape Comorin, north, to Negombo, south ; or at least by these tributes enough is done to 
show the dominion conceded to the Company over those seas, the bay and the pearl-banks 
lying there, and the result of the enquiry of the Commissioners for the last three years proves 
that this claim is indisputably made with greater foundation than that of the Naick to the 
ships along the coast of Madura, when that Prince, to show his mixed authority, sets up his 
flag next to the Company's standard at the fort of Tutucoryn, assists in laying down rules for 
the fishery, exercises magistracy over the hlack people who come to that fishery, permits all 
misdeeds, except treason, to go unpunished among his own subjects during the time of fishing, 
and the Company winks at this and receives tax from all pearls carried away from Tutucoryn, 
but with the exception of 96^ free stones he has no part or share in the produce of the stones 
sold at the Banks of Madura or Aripo, which payments are received and kept solely for the 
Company as Lords of these seas and bays ; but at the same time (though it appears rather 
unreasonable) from old custom, a kind of authority is exercised by the Naick over the Cham- 
panothy of every nation, which obliges them to give to this Prince ot Madura one day's 
fishing free of payment, but His Highness, through his ambassadors who came to the fishery of 
Condatchy, has now and then endeavoured and more especially hi the year 1695, according to 
the custom of all black people, to institute a claim to enjoy the same tribute from all dhonies, 
but this has alway3 been boldly refused to him, except with regard to his own subjects from 
whom he takes this tribute, as the Theuver does from his own subjects, but no further as the 
Commissioners will find fully explained in the reports of 1694 and 1695, where the Company's 
absolute and undivided authority, if not along the coasts of Madura, at least in the Bay of 
Condatchy as being Sovereigns there, in the same way as this is given to Princes on the coast 
of Madura, etc., etc., etc. 

" The Maniagaars of the Armane and Theuver, as envoys sent to take care of their masters' 
interests in the Fishery of Aripo, must be treated with politeness and cordiality. The olas 
which they usually bring with them must be received and forwarded to me, and nothing must 
be granted to them except what is authorized by old custom, viz., to the Naick 96£, and to the 
Theuver 60, free Moorish stones, as appears by the lists which I mentioned to you, although 
the latter Prince, being limited to three boats, was accustomed to have an unequal number of 
stones in them, which gave rise to frequent disputes ; until at last in the year 1694 it was 
stipulated that whether the boats were large or small no more than 60 stones were to be 
employed in them, which yon will unreservedly take notice of ; and if any claim be made, you 
■will refer to this rule laid down in 1694 and followed till 1699. And as to his request oj 27 free 
stones for the Pagoda of Ramanacoil, His Excellency may give as much as he pleases from those 
60 stones which are granted to him from the Valy which he receives from his oivn subjects, but the 
pretensions of Peria Tamby, or whoever now fills his place as the Theuver's Marcair, seem 
better founded. This claim is not a rule, but an act of liberality on the part of the Company, 
and granted or not, in proportion to the care and favour which he gives to the Company's trade 
at Kilikerry," etc., etc. 

* Ceylon Literary Register, Volume III, pp. 166, 167. 





Respectful considerations relating to the renting out of the Aripn Pearl-Banks and the Chunk 
Fisher;/ on the shores of the North of Adam's Briilge, submitted to His Excellency Gustavus 
William Baron Van Imhoff, Governor-General, and the Members of the Council of 
Netherlands India, by Julius Valentyn Stein Van Gollenesse, Governor of Ceylon. 
(Ceylon Literary Register, Volume III, page 181.) 

Although the undersigned lias not as yet acquired sufficient experience to be able to judge 
fully of all matters relating t.o the Pearl Fishery, yet he is unwilling to defer obeying the order 
conveyed in your letter of 5th November 1743,* and which desires that he should lay before 
you his humble opinion with regard to the Chank Fishery, and also state whether it would not 
be as advisable, or even preferable to rent out the Aripo Pearl Banks, as to continue the 
present custom of settling whole or half fisheries, and he hopes that Your Excellency will look 
over any errors in his views of the subject, and kindly supply any defects in this statement of 
his opinion. 

In the first place then, I must admit, as a matter beyond dispute, the remark which Your 
Excellency makes in the memoir left here for the guidance of your successor in this Govern- 
ment, namely that the Honourable Company is rather a loser than a gainer in our Pearl 
Fisheries ; no person will deny this who has a grain of local knowledge respecting the affairs 
of Ceylon. It is therefore necessary to seek some mode of conducting these fisheries, which 
may secure to the Company the profit to be derived from them without its being accompanied 
by the many drawbacks detailed in your memoir ; and who can doubt that this may best be 
effected by renting them out, or by selling the freedom of diving on the banks, with a limited 
number of boats and persons in the same manner as now takes place with regard to the 
Chank Fishery. It is evident that this may be done without any hindrance, and more profit 
will result than is expected, at all events the gain will be real and not merely ostensible. It 
is not to be denied that at first sight some difficulties appear to rise iu opposition to this plan, 
but the undersigned will now relate everything that to the best of his knowledge can offer 
hindrance, and show how in his opinion every obstacle may at once be removed. 

I. The Theuver and the Naick of Madura having had from all times three days free diving 
in each fishery will not allow this privilege to be taken from them. 

Answer 1 (a) — This privilege seems to have been merely conceded because the greater 
number of the dhooies and people required at a public fishery come out of their country, 
and these will not be required if the diving takes place with a limited number of persons ; the 
right may therefore be withdrawn. 

(6) If they venture to pretend that their right rests upon a better ground, and cannot 
therefore so easily be withdrawn, it is certain that on the other_ side they have never fulfilled 
that portion of their concessions which are laid down in legal contracts between the Company 
and themselves and the Company is therefore fully authorised to deny their right, even if it 
can be called by that name. 

(c) If there remain any doubt that this can justly be done, yet this need not prevent the 
rentings, as their privileges may still be guaranteed to them under proper restrictions. 

2nd Objection. — It will be difficult to find persons of so much property as to pay the 
price of the rent in advance. 

2nd Answer. — Even if they be not found in this island, speculators enough will come 
from the coast, and even money enough exists among the Ceylon merchants, for many together 
will make a Company to take shares in the adventure. 

3rd Objection. — Even though the number of the dhonies be limited speculators will 
arrive from all sides, and there will be as large a crowd of persons to purchase the pearls as 
ever there was at an open fishery, and then the Company will not obtain its purpose in this 

* Merely calling his attention to the preceding remarks of Baron Van Imhoff. 


3rd Answer (a). — lb is very different from an open fishery wliich is proclaimed on all 
sides, and to which all persons are invited, but in a rented fishery it would only be necessary to 
give orders that no person should be admitted except those who are absolutely required to be 
present, and the uninvited might be sent away. 

(b) The oysters might be opened on the shore by the renter's people, and might be 
taken away at pleasure, but if it be imagined that this would bring too great a concourse of 
people to this island, it would be easy to order the renter to take away the oysters with him to 
the coast, as is done with the Cbanks, and not to allow him to land them on this side the water. 

4th Objection. — For a complete fishery 800 or 1,000 boats are required, and how could 
then the work be done with a limited number of 25 or 50. 

Mh Answer (a). — In the memoir already quoted a full and complete fishery is excepted from 
being rented. 

(6) But the same rule might hold good even in a full fishery, for (1) as a fishery seldom 
lasts longer than 24 days, a rented fishery might last three times as long ; (2) the bank which 
could not be open in one year, might be rented the following years, as the assertion of the 
Commissioners at the last fishery seems very improbable, that the oysters being too mature 
loosen the pearl and let it drop; this may be the case with some few of too full a growth, the 
place of which others will supply which were not so mature previously. 

hth Objection. — It has just been answered to an objection, that what cannot be done in 
one year, may be done in the next one or two years immediately following, but since it has 
happened that there have been full fisheries for many successive years, how is it possible that 
these continued full fisheries could be carried on with a small number of dhonies ? and then tho 
loss to the company could be exceedingly great. 

5th Answer (a). — A moderate profit in a rented fishery would be far more advantageous 
to the company than great apparent gain in an open fishery, at which if all matters would be 
weighed and balanced, the company really gains nothing; (b) it has not yet been proved 
that the oysters lose their pearls so quickly, and it is therefore uu certain if: the company would 
sustain any injury by the delay. 

6th Objection. — The renter will fish the banks so bare, that the profit of the company will 
be quite ruined. 

6th Answer (a). — I cannot perceive why a small number of divers should strip the banks 
more than a greater number. 

(b) If that idea should prove to be well founded, proper directions should be established 
oa the subject, and it must be prohibited to bring up small or young oysters ; and although it 
is desirable to get rid of the trouble of having constant guard over the banks, yet it would not 
be very difficult to have two or three persons commissioned to see what goes on. 

7th Objection. — It will be necessary to inspect the banks in the same manner as previously, 
in order to know how the conditions of the rent are to be made out, for certainly speculators 
will make large or small offers according to the greater or fewer appearances of profit, and there 
will always be differences of opinion ; for the renter will constantly urge that the duty was not 
well performed, in order to obtain some deduction for his amount of rent. 

1th Answer (a). — The renter may have full liberty to obtain indemnification from the 
native inspectors, in the event of an incorrect report being given in by them. 

(6) In the conditions care may be taken to guard against all after-claims, and to let the 
banks in whatever condition they may be found. 

(c) Public notice may be given that persons inclined to make an offer for the banks may 
be present at the inspection of them. 

8th Objection. — This rent will prejudice the chank fishery, for this latter will be at a stand- 
still from the want of divers. 

8th Answer. — If divers can be found for 800 or 1,000 dhonies, then it can surely not be 
thought that they will be so scarce as not to be found for 50 boats, and both fisheries may 
easily go at the same time. 

0th Objection. — The inspection of the pearl banks takes place in November, and it is late 
in December before the Government is able to make out the conditions of the fishery which is 
to be held in the middle of February. Now, it would be impossible to fix a day for offering 
the rent before the beginning of February, in order that speculators from the coast may have 
time to come to Ceylon. If then there should chance to be no speculators, or if they should 
not make an offer large enough, it would be too late to commence preparations for an open 
fishery, and Government would be compelled to be satisfied with a bidding however small, lest 
it should be deprived of the advantage of fishery on its own account or of letting out the 

0th Answer (a). — It is not one instant to be doubted, but there will be a sufficient number 
of bidders ; (6) at all events, even if they should bid little, and we should be compelled to 
accept their trifling offer, it would always be satisfactory to think that the gain is clear profit. 


Finally, with respect to the Manaar and Culpenty n cliauk-fisliery, the Governor is of opinion 
that a diving on the company's own account would be far more profitable than renting the 
fishery, and if we resolved in our sitting on the 11th January last to rent that fishery again, it 
was because Mr. Haket, the Chief Officer at Manaar, was so indirlerent upon the subject as to 
hold out no hopes of a successful attempt on our own account, yet we have since then given up 
renting that fishery, and it now takes place at our own risk, and although it is as yet not by 
any means so well conducted as it ought to be, still we by no means doubt but the company 
will derive a larger profit from it than 4,800 Rixdollars, which were offered for the rent of the 
last fishery. 

The undersigned hopes he has now satisfactorily obeyed Your Excellencies' wish, and 
clearly proved first, that the renting of the pearl banks is in every respect preferable to having 
an open fishery ; second, that it would be better to dive for the chanks at Calpeulyn and Manaar 
on the company's own account. 




(A continuation brought up to date of the records given in Mr- H. Sullivan Thomas' 
•'Report on Pearl Fisheries", 1884.) 

1. Pajiban Kaeai Par — 

1885. Nil. 

1886. Few oysters of 3 to 2 inches, no value. 

1887. 117 dives ; 6 oysters of J to % inch. 
1888 to 1894. Not examined. 

1895. Weed, chnlly and sea branch coral. 
1896 to 1903. Not examined. 

2. Pamdax Yelangu Pae — 

18S5. Weeds, no spat. Bare, 3 yonng oysters in 2 dives. 

1886. 31 dives. No oysters, much sea weed. 

1887. 59 dives ; 5 oysters. 
1888 to 1894. Not examined. 

1895. Weed, chnily and sea branch coral. 
1896 to 1903. Not examined. 

3. Mi'sal Tivc Pae — 

1885. False spat plentiful. 

1886 to 1894. Not examined. 

1895. A few young oysters, measuring 1^ inch, on weed. 

1896 to 1903. Not examined. 

4. Cholava Karai Par — 

1885. Weeds diminishing. 
1886 to 1894. Not examined. 
1895. Weeds and 6 young oysters, 
1696 to 1903. Not examined. 


1885. Killikoy ; sea weed, useless. 

1886. Not examined. 

1887. Sixty-five dives, 4 oysters, averaging l to inch in size. 
1888 to 1894. Not examined. 

1895. Red coral, weed, chully and shells. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

6. Vallai Malai Kaeai Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. Not examined. 

1887. Twenty-one dives ; blank. 
1888 to 1894. Not examined. 

1895. Red coral, weed, chully and shells. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

7. Anna Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. Blank. 

1887. Twenty-five dives, blank. 
1888 to 1890. Not examined. 

1891. Six young oysters measuring from 1 to If inches, killikoy (small) and red 

branched coral. Sea weed and red coral. 
1892 to 1893. Not examined. 

1894. A few small oysters, measuring ^ inch, on weed. 

1895. Bed coral, weed, chully and shells. 



7. Anna Pab — cont. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

8. Nalla Tanni Tivc Par — 

1885. Two examinations, sea weed only. 

1886. Blank. 

1887. Sixty-eight dives; weed and chully j 1 oyster of | inch. 
1888 to 1893. Not examined. 

189-1. Chully and weed. 

1895. Three live oysters measuring 1 to 1£ inch, sea weed, chully and red coral. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. Blank. 

1S98 to 1903. Not examined. 

9. Upputanni Tivu Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886 to 1887. Blank. 

1888 to 1893. Not examined. 

189-4. Chully and weed. 

1895. One small oyster, red coral and sea weed. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. A few young oysters, average 8 to a dive, 1^ to J- inch, very poor in condition 

and unhealthy looking, probably due to the mud bank. 
1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

10. Kumulam Pab — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. Thirty -four dives, no oysters ; weeds and stones. 

1887. Thirty-three dives, no oysters but weed and chully. 
1888 to 1893. Not examined. 

1894. Chully. 

1895. Blank. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

10 (a). Valisdkam Par — 
1885. A few killikoys. 
1888 to 1890. Not examined. 

1891. No oysters, small killikoys on red coral, 20 dives. 
1892 to 1893. Not examined. 

1894. Killikoy on red coral. 

1895. Weed, red coral and one live oyster. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

10 (b). Valinitkam Tundu Par — 
1885. Bare. 

1891. Quite bare, only chullies, 10 dives. 
1894. Weed and 2 small oysters. 

1896. Weed and chullies. 

1897. Blank. 

1898 to 1903. Not examined. 

11. Vembar Perita Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. Seventy-seven dives, a few oysters 5 to i inch, plenty of suran. 

1887. Two oysters only found, no suran, no value. 
1888 to 1893. Not examined. 

1894. One small live oyster, small quantity of spat on rock and weed, red coral and 

1895 to 1896. Not examined. 

1897. A few young oysters 1J to T 7 F inch in size. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare. 

1900 to 1901. Not examined. 

1902. No oysters, some suran and mud. 

1903. Not examined. 

12. Vaipar Periya Par — 

1885. Not examined. 

1885. Very few oysters of no value, plenty of suran. 


12. Taipak Periya Par —cont. 
1887. Seven dives, blank. 
1833-1893. Not examined. 
1896-1903. Not examined. 

13. Kaeai Par— 

1885. Probably affected by river water. Average 13 oysters to a dive, apparently new 

1880. Seventy-eight dives, very old, empty dead shells and small coral stones. One 

oyster to a dive. Examined by " Pearl ", no oysters, no suran. 
] S94. Weed and chully. 
1896. Oysters 1 inch in size, 5 per dive ; several dead killikoy and a small quantity of 

small suran. 
1897-1903. Not examined. 

14. Devi Par— 

1885. Four examinations ; oysters plentiful but as many empty shells as live oysters. 

1886. No oysters, no suran ; no oysters, plenty of suran. 

1887. Four oysters of | to 1 inch, plenty of suran, 33 dives. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Forty-two dives, some suran, 20 chanks. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. A good number of young oysters, average £ inoh, killed by large suran. 

1895. False and true spat mixed. 

1896. Oysters varying from If to T T ¥ inch in size, 7 to a dive, dead suran but no dead 

oysters among them. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare ; divers report that they found a large quantity of sand deposited on this 

1900-1901. Not examined. 
1902. Yery few one year old healthy oysters. 

15. Pernandu Par — 

1885. Four examinations ; oysters plentiful but as many empty shells as live oysters. 

1886. No oysters, much suran. 

1887. Two oysters of I inch. This bank is now covered with suran ; 4 dives. 
1838-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Forty dives, no oysters ; in some parts suran. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Blank. 

1895. False and true spat mixed. 

1896. Oysters rangiiig from 1^- to T 7 g- inch in size ; 6 to a dive. Dead suran but no 

dead oysters among them. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare. 
1900-1901. Not examined. 

1902. Yery few 1 year old healthy oysters. 

16. Padtttha Marikan Par — 

1885. Oysters plentiful but as many empty shells as live oysters. 

1886. Found 11 dead oysters of 2 to 21 inches. Much weed in some places. 

1887. Four oysters of £ and 1 inch on weed, no suran. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1895. False and true spat. 

1896. Oysters average 10 to a dive measuring 1^ to 5 inch Found oysters on dead 

pinna, also a large quantity of dead shells on sand. On north side of the bank 
found dead shells with dead suran, also 2 live oysters 2\ to £ inch on dead 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Blank. 
1900-1901. Not examined. 

1902. Very few oysters 1 year old, healthy looking. 

17. PADtrrTA Marikan Tundu Par — 

1885. Two examinations, both found suran only. 

1886. Bare, all suran. 

1887. Suran; 23 dives. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Sixty dives, some suran, no oysters. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 
1894. Blank. 


17. Padltta Mabikan Tundu Pab — cont. 

1S95. False and true spat mixed on weed and rock. 
1696. (Same as Pur No. 10.) 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare. 
1900-1902. Not examined. 


1885. Pinna, suran; oysters few ; apparently a valuable bank. 

1886. Found covered with suran. No oysters, no suran. 

1887. Twenty-nine dives. One oyster of 5 inch, suran and weed. 
1 888-1 S94. Not examined. 

1895. False and true spat mixed on weed and rock. 

1896. One live oyster 1 incb, weed and red coral. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare. 
1900-1903. Not examined. 

19. Cruxian Par — 

1885. Cbanks on rock, suran, killikoy. 

1886. One oyster \ incb, no suran, 4 killikoys and a good deal of weed on rocky 

bottom. Sand on rock in many places ; plenty of suran. 

1887. Seventy-two dives, 9 oysters varying in size | to 1J inch j much suran, kil- 

1888-1890. Not examined. 
1891. Plenty of suran and killikoy. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. A few young oysters, average \ incb, on branch coral and killikoy. 

1895. Toung oysters averaging 1 +, incb in size, 5 to 7 per dive. 

1896. A few young oysters If to | incb. Dead cbanks and pinna. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Bare. 
1900-1901. Not examined. 

1902. Estimated 1,700,000 oysters (healthy), If to 2 years old. 

20. Cbuxian TWdu Par — 

1885. Cbanks on rock, suran, killikoy. 

1886. No oysters ; 49 dives ; no suran. Much suran and killikoy, also few oysters of 

J inch. 

1887. Forty-nine dives, 14 oysters of § incb ; much suran and weed. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Eighteen dives, suran , no oysters. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. A few young oysters varying in size from If incb down. Sea weed; 5 live 

cbanks and chully, 

1895. Young oysters and a small quantity of suran on the southern part of the bank. 

1896. A few oysters measuring If to If. Suran on dead cbank shells. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Weed, chullies, and some large live suran. 
1900-1901. Not examined. 

1902. Estimated about 2,000,000 oysters (healthy), If to 2 years old. 

21. Vantivu Arupagah Pab — 

1885. Suran. 

1886. Twenty- three dives, no oysters, no suran. Plenty of suran. 

1887. Twenty-five dives, suran and weed. 
1888^1890. Not examined. 

1891. Twenty-five dives ; suran, no oysters. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Weed, 8 live cbanks. Chully and small killikoy. 

1895. Young oysters, measuring 1£ inch in size, 5 to 7 per dive and small quantity 

of suran on the southern part of the bank. 

1896. A few young oysters averaging 3 to a dive, If to f inch on pinna and shells; 

found 10 oysters same size. 
1397. A few young oysters mixed with dead shells. 

1898. Weed and chullies. 

1899. Weed, chullies and some large live suran. 
1900-1901. Not examined. 

1902. Very few young oysters from 1 to If years old and healthy in scattered 


22. Nagara Par — 

1585. Bare. 

1586. Plenty of oysters f to lj inch mixed with some empty shells. Five dives, some 

killikoys, no suran, many dives, oysters of 1 inch in size and injured by fish. 
One chank with 8 oysters and some empty shells. 

1887. Thirty-seven dives ; 11 oysters of f inch, much suran and killikoy and weed. 

1888. Not examined. 
18S9. Blank. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Fifteen dives, 7 chanks, 1 killikoy, some suran ; small pieces of stones ; blank. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. A few young oysters varying in size from 1| inch down. Five live chanks and 


1895. False and true spat, also young oysters varying from 1 to -J- inch in size. 

1896. Five to 7 oysters per dive, averaging 1 inch in size ; dead shells of appearance 

only recently dead. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Weed and chully. 

1899. Weed, chully, and some large live suran. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Large quantity of dead and crushed young oysters. 

1902. Estimated about 1,500,000 oysters 1J to 2 years old and healtliy. 

23. TJtti Par— 

1885. Bare. 

1886. A few oysters from f to 1-|- inch, mixed with some empty shells 10 to 20 in a 

dive. Several dives made, a few oysters of 1 inch in size much mixed with 
dead shells. 

1887. Twenty- six dives ; much suran and weed. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. Blank. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Ten dives, 4 chanks, small pieces of stone, 1 young oyster, blank. 

1892. One oyster 2\ inch on chully, nothing more. 

1893. Not examined. 

189i. Sea-weed, chully, and small killikoy. 

1895. False and true spat; also young oysters varying from 1 to f inch >n size.. 

1896. Ten oysters to a dive ; old and young dead shells ; oysters on live killikoy. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Weed and chullies. 

1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. A few dead shells f inch in size. 

1902. Oysters found \\ to 2 inches, number not estimated. Healthy. 

24. UDrRcvi Par — 

1885. Bare. 

1886. One oyster 1 inch and a number of dead shells of no value, all suran,. 

1887. Thirty-one dives, 40 oysters varying from \\ to \ inch. 

1888. Not examined. 
18S9. Blank. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Seven dives ; 3 chanks. Blank. 

1892. Blank. 

1893. Not examined. 

1894. Suran, sea weed and a few live chanks. 

1895. False and trae spat, also young oysters varying from 1 to \ inch in size. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Weed and chullies. 

1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Some young oysters, but 90 per cent. dead. 

1902. Oysters plentiful, 2 years old and healthy. (Sic). 

25. Kilati Par. 

1885. Suran, a few empty oyster shells. 

1886. (a) Plenty of oysters from f to 1£ inch ; 11 dives ; 40 to 50 oysters in a dive ■ 

nc suran or killikoy. 
(b) Some oysters ; divers got 20, 30 and 50 to a dive of 1 inch ; many dead >; 

bank of very doubtful value.. 
£c\ Bank covered with suran ; no oysters. 



25. Kilati Par — cout. 

1887. Thirty-nine dives, 5 oysters of j to 1-j inch, suran, weed and killikoy. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. Blank. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Twenty-two dives, 9 chanks, sand and scnall pieces of stones. 

1892. Chullies — otherwise quite blank. 

1893. Not examined. 

1894. Suran, sea weed and a few live chanks. 

1895. Toung oysters, 7 to 8 per dive, size 1 inch. 

1896. A few young oysters, 1 inch in size. Weed, chullies and red coral. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. "Weed, bare. 

1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Some young oysters but 90 per cent. dead. 

1902. Oysters in moderate numbers. 

26. Attutai Aeupagam Par — 

1885. False spat plentiful. 

1886. (a) Eleren dives, two of which oysters of }, 1, and 1 j inch were found. 

(b) Weed and some dead oyster shells ; 2 oysters of If inch. 

(c) All siiran. 

1895. Blank. 

1896. A few young oysters, 1 inch in size. Weed, chully and red coral. 
1898. Blank, weed, bare. 

1899-1900. Not examined. 
1902. Not examined. 

27. Attonfatu Par — 

18S5. Two inspections — chanks on rock and empty shells. No live oysters. 

1886. («) Eleven dives, no oysters. 

(b) No oysters or suran, 65 dives made. 

(c) Suran. 

1887. No oysters — suran dead in some places. 37 dives made; 1 chank. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. No oysters, much suran ; 20 dives. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Twenty-nine dives; 44 chanks, small pieces of stones, suran. 

1892. Forty-four dives ; live and dead suran, chullies, 8 chanks. 

1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea weed, chully, red coral, a few young oysters measuring from § to f inch. 

1895. Blank. 

1896. Four hundred and eighty-one dead shells, 78 live oysters, |- inch in size, the 

dead shells were found in perfect preservation, not snipped or fish bitten. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Blank. Weed and chully only. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Some few oysters, size lj inch, 50 per cent, dead, mostly found on the sands 

and off the bank. 

1902. Not examined. 

28. (a) Pasi Par— 

(6) Pattarai Par — 

1885. Bare. 

1886. No oysters, bank bare, 56 dives made. 

1887. One oyster of | inch. Pinna, chanks, and much siiran ; 40 dives made. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. Much suran ; no oysters ; 20 dives. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Forty-four dives ; bare. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea weed and suran. 

A small quantity of oysters varying in size from 2 inches to £ inch. Sea weed 
and a few chanks. One large oyster, 3 inches in size on rock. 

1895. A few young oysters. 

1896. Seven small oysters, chanks, chully and weed. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Weed; bare.' 

1899. Blank; weed and chullies only. 

1900. Not examined. 


28. (<t) Pasi Par, etc, — cont. 

1901. (28a) Large quantity of 6 months old dead oyster*, in size \ inch, said to be 

killed by suran, also dead suran. 
(2S&) A few oysters, size lj inch; 20 alive, 8 dead. 

1902. (2Sa) Very few oysters, 6 months old, mixed with siiran. 
(286 J Same as above. 

29. Kutadjar Par — 

1885. Perfectly bare. 

1886. (a) Nine dives — SO oysters of 1 inch in size, appear to be very few- 

(b) Fifty- nine div-es — a few oysters, many broken shells. 

(c) Suran ; no value at present. 

1887. Suran, 2 chanks, 4 oysters of 1 inch on dead chank. Thirty-two dives made 

on this bank. 
188S. Not examined. 
1SS9. No oysters, much suran; 17 dives. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Forty dives — pinna, 5 young oysters varying from •§• iuch to 1 inch in size, 

chully and pinna. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Red coral, sea-weed, 2 live oysters, 2j to 2 inches in size — 6 live chanks. 

1895. Young oysters 10 to 15 per dive. 

3 896. A few oysters varying from 2f to | inches in size. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Weed; bare. 
1899-1900. Not examined. 

1901. No appearance of oysters. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Moderate number of' very young oysters. 

29-a. Wicks Bane — 

1885. Two inspections ; young oysters, size % to 2j inch, plentiful, 2 chanks alive. 

1886. Sixty-one dives; a very few oysters, size ^ to If inch. A good number of 

pinna on the bank which is not of any great extent. Suran ; 2 dead chanks ; 

1 live chank ; weed ; 5 dead shells from 2 to 2-J- inch. 
1887—1890. Not examined. 
1891. Thirty dives, suran in small quantity, seven live chanks, weed and one live 

oyster 1J inch in size. 
1892—1891. Not examined. 

1895. Four small oysters, large quantity of suran, chully, and weed. 
1896—1903. Not examined. 

30. Tolayiraii Par — 

1885. Seven inspections. Satisfactory, oysters clean and apparently growing well, 

free from trouble of any kind. The largest live oyster found measured 3 
inches, average 2\ inches; trigger fish ; oysters covered with short sea-weed. 
Plenty of oysters from 2 to 2| inches. 

1886. Large number of oysters 2j to 2f inches. The proportion of empty shells was 

trifling. This bank will be ready for a fishery in 1888. There seems to be 
much suran round the bank and some of the oysters had it on them. The 
proportion of empty shells was trifling. 

1887. Lifted 745 oysters, some suran; 13 dead shells only found; plenty of fish. 

1888. Plenty of oysters. 

Lifted 15,000 oysters, dead shells few. 

1889. This bank has been partially fished. Net profit to Government Rs. 1,58,483. 

1890. Do. do. do. „ 7,803. 

1891. Ninety dives ; a quantity of large sized dead shells; 2 live oysters, 2\ to 3 

inches in size ; on a buoy which was placed to mark chanks in February last, 
found a large quantity of young oysters, £ to 1 inch in size ; lifted the buoy 
carefully and placed it on the bank on rock. Examined the bank carefully 
but found no spat deposited. Am placing several more buoys as spat- 

1892. One hundred and fifty-eight dives — 8 chanks anda large quantity'of full grown 

oyster shells and some weed. On examining the weed carefully through a 
magnifying glass found minute oyster spat. The spat-catcher buoys laid 
down last year werenot to be found. They have unfortunately disappeared. 

1 -' 3. Not examined. 

1894. Old oyster shells, 2 live oysters measuring \\ and \ inch, respectively, live 
chanks, sea-weed, on which on careful examination small oysters measuring 
from | inch downward were found ; large suran in small quantity, pinna aud 
dead chanks. 

i 395. Northern rortion quite bare, only chully. Southern part, sea weed with a few 
oysters varying from 2\ to § inch. 


30. Tolayjram Par — eont. 

189G. Made 220 dives on this bank, result: — old oyster shells, branch sea-weed, red 
coral, 2 young oysters on rock measuring lj and 1-J inch. 

1897. Old dead shells, weeds and chullies. 

1898. Weeds and chullies ; large suran in some parts. 

1S99. A quantity of old dead oyster shells, chullies and sea-weed on the northern 
part. Found some small live suran. 

1 900. Not examined. 

1901. One of the largest banks. No appearance of oysters. 

1902. Bare of oysters. 

31. Vada Onpatu Par — 

1885. Bare; sea-weed, no spat. 

1886. Thirty-two dives ; no oysters. 

1887. Fifty-four dives ; suran, 3 oysters of l{ inch. 
1SSS— 1890. Not examined. 

1891. Sixty-two dives ; 14 live chanks, pinna, chullies, no oysters. 

1892-1893. Not examined. 

189-4. Bank free from suran but nothing but sea weed on it. 

1895. A few young oysters. 

189(3. A few oysters on southern side of this bank, large suran on the western, rest 

1897. A few young oysters measuring from 1 to § inch in size, 10 to a dive. 
1S98. Weed and chullies. 

1899. Nine oysters § to 1-J inch in size, 6 dead shells, red coral and weed. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. A few live oysters If and If inch; many of the clusters of oysters on the 

edges of the bank loose on sand. 

1902. Not examined. 

32. («) Saith Onpatct Par — 
(6) Puli Pundtt Par — 

(c) Kanna Puli Pundu Par — 

1885. Young oysters on sandy bottom attached to pinna shells, also on rock, all 

healthy looking ; some suran. 

1886. Twenty-six dives — no oysters on Puli Pundu Par or on Saith Onpatu Par. 
On Kanna Puli Pundu Par, 2 oysters of 1^- inch, some dead. 

Oyster shells, 42 dives. 

1887. Thirty-three dives made on the two latter banks; chanks, weed, 7 oysters of 

2|- inches in size. 
1888— 1894. Not examined. 

1895. Young oysters 10 to 15 per dive. 

1896. (32a) Bare. 

(326) Seventeen live oysters, one 3J inch, rest 1J inch. A large quantity of: 

freshly broken oyster shells ; no suran or killikov. 
(32c) Do. " do. " do. 

1897. A few young oysters mixed with dead shells, same size. 
Oysters alive 31, dead 35 ; blank. 

1898. Weed and chullies. 

1899. Nine oysters f to l-^- inch in size, 6 dead shells and red coral and weed. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. (32a) A few live oysters If to If inch; many of the clusters of oysters on the: 

edges of the bank loose on sand. 
(325) Weeds small stones and no oysters. 
(32c) Star fish, weeds and no oysters. 

1902. Not examined.. 

33. Aoluva Par— 

1885. Suran, killikoy ; useless. 

1886. Twelve dives ; no oysters. 

1887. Thirty-two dives; 3 oysters of 5 and 1 inch ; suran. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. Nine dives ; blank. 
1890—1893. Not examined. 
1896-1897. Do. 
1898. Weeds and chullies. 
1899-1902. Not examined. 

S4. Kanna Tivu Ardpagah Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. (a) Seven dives, no oysters. 

(6) Twenty-six dives, no oysters, weed and chullieai 

1887. Twenty-two dives, suran. 


34. Kanna Tivu Arupagam Par — cont. 
1S3S. Not examined. 

1889. Fifteen dives, 5 young oysters of six months. 

1890. Not examined. 

1891. Large suran in quantities, no oysters. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Weed, chully and killikoy. 

1895. Two small oysters, sea-weed, and a small quantity of small suran. 
18t*6. Suran and killikoy. 

1S97. Oysters plentiful ranging in size from 2 to ^ inch. They are unhealthy in 
appearance, very poor in condition. This is probably due to the adjacent 
mud bank. 

1898. Weeds and chullies. 

1899. Blank, nothing of value. 
1900-1902. Not examined. 

35. Tundu Par— 

1885. Blank. 

1886. Thirty-five dives, no oysters, no suran, no killikoy, soma pieces of rock. 

1887. Thirty-one dives suran. 
1838. Not examined. 

1889. Seven dives, blank. 
1890-1894. Not examined. 

1895. Blank. 

1896. Bare. 

1897-189S. Not examined. 
1899. Blank, nothing of value. 
1900-1902. Not examined. 

36. (a) Nenjcbichchan Par — 
(t) Pae Kojdanjan Par— 
(c) Mela Onpatc Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. (a) 13 dives, no oysters. 

(6) Yery few oysters — 152 dives. 

(c) The bank covered with suran eutirely; all stones, ohanks, etc., thickly 

1887. No oysters, mud, suran • of no value. 

1888. Not examined. 

1889. No oysters, some suran ; 47 dives. 
1890-1894. Not examined. 
1895-1896. Bare. 

1897- Blank. 

1898. Bare. 

1899. Blank. 

1 900. Not examined. 

1901. (a) Weed, coral and small stones. 

(b) Broken coral, small stones, no oysters. 

(c) No oysters ; weed and coral. 

37. Pistnacoil Seltan Pae — 

1885. A. very small bank ; bare. 

1886. Bare. 

1887. Twenty-two dives ; blank. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Two live chanks, one dead chank, two large dead oyster shells; chully and coral 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea-weed, red coral, and chully. 

1895. Young oysters, 10 to 15 per dive, with dead suran mixed with young dead 

oyster shells. 

1896. Oysters 1| inch, 5 to a dive on south-west side of bank ; rest bare. 

1897. Young oysters ranging from 1 to f inch in size on weed. 
1898-1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Weeds and stones, one healthy oyster, size 2 inches. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Bare of oysters. 


1885. Large suran plentiful, also chanks. 

1886. One diver brought 23 oysters 1J inch and again 10 of 1 inch, then got 20 to 30 

each time, but the bank is of very small extent, and of no value. 
1887-1890. Not examined. 



38. Sandamafam Pud.tia Pin — ,-ont. 

1891. Forty-two dives; a small quantity of large and small oysters, oyster shells 

evidently old. Chully, red coral and a small quantity of weed. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 
189-i. Sea-weed, red coral, and cliully and two small oysters measuring i inch. 

1895. Young oysters 10 to 15 per dive. 

lo96. Seventy-seven oysters, average 2 to g- inch in size ; chullies and weed. 

1897. Oysters plentiful \^ to f iuch in size on weed, healthy in appearance, byssns 

strong; weed in large quantities. 

1898. Oysters plentiful. 40 to 50 obtained at a dive. Divers report that oysters are 

firmly attached to bottom and it is only with a strong pull they can detach 
them. Size 2 to 2j inches. 

1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Not examined. 

1902. Not examined. 

39. (a) Ira Tivu Kudamuttu Par — 
(6) Nadu Kudamuttu Pak — 

1885. Quite bare, no suran or killikoy ; no spat. 

1886. A. few oysters of 1^ inch with dead oysters and suran. One part 15 and 20 to 

a dive intermixed with suran ; 43 dives made. 

1887. Nineteen dives ; bare. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Two dives (sic) ; weed and chully. 

1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea- weed and red coral. 

1835. Young oysters, 10 to 15 per dive. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Same as No. 38. 

1898. Same as No. 33. 

1899. Hare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Not examined. 

1902. Not examined. 

40. (a) Kovir, Piditta Pattu Par — - 
(l>) Sanquria Pattu Par — 

(c) Niiam Kallu Par — 

(cl) Sethu Kuria Pattu Pab — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. A few oysters on these banks of 1 and If and f and f inch, not sufficient to h& 

of any value. One diver got 48 ; another 28, 92 dives made. On the part 
called Nilam Kallu Par one diver got 9 oysters in two dives, another 7 > 62 
dives made on this Par. 

1887-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Twenty-six dives ; bare. 

1892-1894. Not examined. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Blank. 

1898. Only chullies and weed, no signs of oysters. 

1899. Bare. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Weeds, corals, and no oysters. 
1902-1903. Not examined. 

41. (a) Kudamuttu Par — 

(b) Rajavukku Sippi Sotichcha Par — 

(c) Saith Kudamuttu Par — 

1885. Blank ; suran on the former, none on the latter. 

1886. A few oysters § to 1§ inch ; many broken aud empty shells, suran. 

On Kudamuttu Par fivel oysters of lj inch ; much sand on this bank, dead 
oyster shells of | inch with weed, few oysters of 1 inch mixed with suran; 
68 dives. 

1887. Thirty-one dives made on these banks. 

On Kudamuttu Par, 14 oysters of 1 inch ; much suran. 
On Rajavukku Sippi Sotichcha Par five oysters | to 1 inch ; suran. 
On Saith Kudamnttu Par two oysters of f inch ; much suran. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 
1891. (a) Thirty-four dives ; five cbanks, no oysters. 

(b) Twenty-nine dives ; five chanks, four oysters, 
(c), fourteen dives ; bare. 


41. (a) KrjDAMCTTU Pa.R, ETC. COnt . 

1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea-weed, chully and red coral, 

1^95. Young oysters 10 to 15 per dive. 

1896. Bare ; suran, dead oyster shells and a few young oysters. 

1897. Large quantities of oysters on these banks measuring If to f inch, healthy 

looking, byssus strong, free from suran and with plenty of weed; on 
easl ern edge large quantities of oysters were found on dead pinna and chank 

1898. Oysters varying from 2 to 2J- inches, 40 to a dive among weed on rock, byssus 

strong, oysters healthy ; very few dead and those evidently smashed by 
fishing 1 stones. 

1899. (a) and (b) bare; (c) only 24 oysters, 2f inch, were found. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. (a) weed, coral, no oysters ; (c) weeds and coral, 1 oyster. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. (6) "Very few six; months old healthy oysters. 

42. (a) Nadu Malai Piditta Par — 
(6) Periya Malai Pipit ia Par — 

1885. Two oysters 2 inches and | inch respectively only found on the former ; the 

rest bare. 

1886. 75 dives made on the former ; two oysters of 1 inch, some empty shells of li to 

2 inches, many chanks. 

65 dives on the latter ; bare. 

1887. On Nadu Malai Piditta Par 21 dives ; blank. 
1888-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Red coral, sea-weed, four small live oysters averaging f inch and a few live- 


1895. (a) Plenty of oysters, 104 to 106 per dive. Percentage of dead, small; oysters 

also on sand close to the bank. Young oysters 100 to 106 per dive ; healthy 

1896. (a) and (6) 3 to 4 young oys+ers per dive- 

1897. Not examined. 

1898. Same result as No. 41. 

(a) Oysters ranging from 1| to 2 inches in size 10 to 20 per dive, healthy and; 

(6) Oysters plentiful; 40 to 50 per dive;, size 2 to 2| inches ; healthy, byssus 
strong. No dead shells. 

1899. (a) A few oysters, weed, chullies and pinna. 

(/>) Found only a few oysters on dead pinna and rock, found a very large 
quantity of cast-off byssus showing plainly that the oysters of last year 
had emigrated (1) (No ; rather the ravages of Rhinoptera sp. J.H.). 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. (a) Weeds, coral, pinna; no oysters. 

(b) Weeds, and coral, no oysters. In 1897 the banks were full of oysters. 

(This does not tally with the entry for that year ! J.H.) 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. (6) Bare. 

43. (a) Kadeiyan Par — 

(b) Kanava Par — ■ 

(c) PuTU Par — 

1885. A few small live oysters. 

1886. A very few oysters, many broken shells, weed, suran, and killikoy ; ODe oyster 

of 2 inches ; 54 dives. 
On Patu Par a very few oysters, varying in size from § to 1 inch, empty shells, 
and weed on the bank; 40 dives. 

1887. 174 dives made on these banks. On Putu Par 71 oysters of £ to 1| inch;, 

much suran in all parts. 
On Kadeiyan and Kanava Pars seven oysters of ^ to lj ; much suran. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. (a) and (6) 40 dives ; four chanks, no oysters. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea-weed and a few live chanks and chully. 

1895. (a) On south side young oysters 10 to 15 per dive ; young suran. 

On the northern side 40 to 58 per dive, free from suran. 
(I) Young oysters only 10 to 15 to a dive. Small suran. 
(c) Young oysters only 1 to 2 per dive. 

1896. (a) 1 to 2 young oysters to a dive, also dead shells. 
(b) and (c) A few young oysters. 


43. (a) Kadeiyan Par, etc. — cont. 

J 897. Large quantities of young oysters, healthy in appearance 1|- to § inches in size. 
(6) and (c) Same result. 

1898. (a) Oysters plentiful averaging 2 to 2|- inches in size, healthy in appearance, 

byssus strong. 
On western edge oysters were found in large numbers on pinna; oysters in 
abundance on the eastern and western edges — oysters in large quantities 
on pinna lying on sand, 2 to 2-j inches in size, 
(i) and (c) oysters plentiful — healthy in appearance ; divers obtained 50 per 
dive, size 2 to 2|- inches. No suran or any trouble. 

1899. (a) Almost bare — found only a few oysters on dead pinna and rock. 

Found a very large quantity of cast off byssi showing plainly that the 
oysters of last year had emigrated. (!) 
(6) Found a very large quantity of cast off byssi showing plainly that the 
oysters of last year had emigrated (!) 
Eight oysters 2f inches in size and a few dead shells, 
(c) Thirty-seven oysters of 2f inches and a few dead shells. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. (a) Weeds, stones and no oysters. 

(b) Weeds, stones and no oysters. 

(c) Weeds, stones and 1 oyster 1 inch in size. In 1818 a fishery was held on 

this bank. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Bare. 

44. Karai Karuwal Par — 

1885. Seven live oysters to a dive ; empty shells, the largest, apparently fresh, 

measured 2^- inches ; empty shells intact. Much suran. 

1886. Broken shells ; suran; 1 live oyster, 1 J inches. 

1887. Not examined. 

1888. Seven dives from canoes ; weed, 1 oyster on sand. 
1889-1890. Not examined. 

1891. A. few empty shells, 1 young oyster. 21 dives. 

1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea- weed, red coral, and chully. 

1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Large quantities of young oysters, healthy in appearance, If to | inch in size. 

1898. Oysters plentiful, 35 to a dive, 2 inches in size ; healthy. 

1899. One hundred and seventeen oysters, 2f inches in size ; among these 11 dead 


1900. Not examined. 

1901. Coral, weeds, pinna; no oysters. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Bare. 

45. Velangu Karuwal Par — 

1885. Oysters plentiful, measuring from If to 1^- inches ; 10 per cent, of empty shells. 

Some apparently bitten by fish and average 2 inches in size. Short sea- 
weed on oysters plentiful. 

1886. In some parts there are oyster3 in fair quantities of J inch ; 10 aud 20 to a dive, 

but many are already dead. Suran exists, also the bank of little or no value. 

92 dives. Last year's oysters all gone. 
1837. Seventy-four dives; some empty oyster shells, 1 and 1^ inches; weed, suran, 

and round pieces of lime. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 
1891 . (<i) 63 dives ; 5 oysters, 1 small dead oyster shell. 

(b) 40 dives ; chully, weed, coral, etc. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 
1894. Sea-weed, red coral, aud chully. 
1895-1896. Bare. 
1897-1898. Same results as No. 44. 

1899. Oysters 2f inches in size, 10 to a dive. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Coral, weeds and no oysters. 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Bare. 

46. Tundu Par — 

1885. Sea-weed and coral, nothing else. 

1886. Eighty dives ; 54 oysters of 1^- inches in size, suran ; empty shells, all broken. 
1887-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Ten dives ; chullies. 


46. Tundu Par — cent. 

1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. Sea-weed, red coral, and chully. 

1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Not examined. 

1898. Oysters plentiful, 35 to a dive, 2 inches in size, healthy in appearance. 

1899. Nothing of value. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Coral, weeds and. no oysters. 

1902. Not examined. 

47. Trichendur Punthotta Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. (a) Several dives ; large number of "oysters from J to 1|- inch attached to 

small coral stones, mixed with some dead shells ; a very few weeds. 
(b) Large number of oysters ; the appearance of the oysters does not; look 
healthy. Dead shells ; several dives. 

1887. Some empty oyster shells of h to J inch j no value. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. (a) Thirty-seven dives ; small stones, and chullies. 

(o) Twenty dives; weeds, coral, pinna, and chullies. 
] 892-1893. Not examined. 
1894. Sea-weed, red coral, and chully, 
1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Oysters plentiful, 1J to f inch in size, healthy in appearance and in good 

condition. Divers brought up netsfull every dive, average 380 oysters. 

1898. Oysters plentiful, 2 inches in size, on eastern and western edges. Oysters on 

pinna in large quantity. All healthy and free from any trouble. 

1 899. Oysters average 2^ inches in size, 8 to a dive, 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. Coral, weeds and no oysters, ^ 

1902. Not examined. 

1903. Do, 

48. Oda Karai Par — 

1885. Bank measures 1+ miles north and south ; oysters sparse on rock, about 10 

to 20 to a square yard ; size 1 to 2J inches. Coloured red and like the coral 
to which they are attached. 

1886. Forty-seven dives ; last year's oysters are all gone. Now there are some young 

ones of \ and 1 inch ; some dead shells also ; divers got 11 live oysters of 
1 inch, 13 and 8, most part are already dead. 

1887. Fifty-five dives ; one oyster of \\ inches, four dead oyster shells, § to \\ 

inches. A large quantity of small round lime. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. One young oyster, four small dead oyster shells ; 36 dives, 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

1894. A small quantity of empty oyster shells, weeds and coral. 
1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Oysters plentiful ; divers report that they could bring up basketsful at a dive, 

| inch. 

1898. Oysters 2 to 2f inches in size on weed and pinna, very healthy in appearance 

but quantity of broken shells shows that this bank lying dose inshore and 
abounding in fish has been visited by fishermen. 

1899. Oysters 20 to a dive, 2J inches in size ; healthy. A very small quantity of dead 

shells were found ; divers report that the undertow was very heavy, and 
that they had much difficulty in keeping on their feet ; large quantity of weed 
on this bank. 

1900-1902. Not examined. 

1903. Bare, 

48 (a). Oda Karai Tundu Par — 
1885. Nil, 
1386. Several dives; a very few oysters intermixed with many dead oyster shells | 

weed and chully. 
1887-1894. Not examined. 
1895-1896. Bare. 
1897. Only a few young oysters, 
1898-1903. Not examined. 

49. Chodi Par— 
1885. Bare. 

1*86. Fifty-two dives; no oysters, no suran, etc. 
1887-1890. Not examined, 



4f. Chodi Par — cont. 

1891. Twenty-two dives ; a few dead oyster shells, no oysters. This bank in places 

is covered by coarse sand and sbells about 6 incbes deep. 
1892-1893. Not examined. 

189-1. Quite bare, covered with coarse sand 1 foot deep. 
1895-1896. Bare. 
1897-189S. Not examined. 
1899. Useless; covered with sand. 
1900-1903. Not examined. 

50. Sandamacoil Piditta Par — 

1885. Three or 4 to a dive. 

18S6. Large quantities of oysters of £ to f- and 1 inch. The divers brought up 6, 50, 
£1, 30, and 125 at a dive, some of f inch. This is a valuable bank, but dead 
shells are already to be found ; the oysters look clean and moderately healthy. 

1887. This bank is also called " Surruku Oupatu Par." * A very few oysters on it. 

1889-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Large and small oyster shells, red coral, weed and chully ; 42 dives. 

1892—1894. Not examined. 

1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Oysters plentiful ; sizes ranging from 1J to f inches ; very few dead shells, 

no snran. 

1898. Oysters plentiful ; sizes ranging from If to 2f inches. Killikoy with oysters 

attached also found. 

1899. Same results as No. 48. 

1900. Not examined. 

1901. A few scattered mature oysters. 

1902. Not examined. 

51. Teradi Ptjli Piditta Par — 

1885. Sea weed and old empty shells. 

1886. Bare. 

1887. Forty-six dives ; blank ; some false spat. 
1888-1890. Not examined. 

1891. Twenty dives. A large quantity of small dead oyster shells, pinna and weed, 

coral and chully. 
1892—1894. Not examined. 

1895. Sea weed only. 

1896. Bare. 

1897. Oysters plentiful, 1-| to § inches ; very few dead shells, no suran. 

1898. Same as No. 50. 

1899. A very large quantity of oysters on this bank, 2 to 2-| inches in size ; divers report 

that they could bring up basketsf ul at a time ; healthy in appearance with 
good strong byssi. 

1900. This bank fished — supposed prematurely — -poor prices fetched. Net profit to 

Government, Rs. 11,033. 

1901. A few mature oysters ; 10 per cent, empty shells ; weeds 4 feet high in places. 
1902-1903. Not examined. 

52. Semman Path Par. — 

1885. Sea weed ; no spat. 

1886. Blank. This bank is joined on to the large Manapad Par ; is of no value. 

1887. Seventy-two dives ; blank. 
1888—1890. Not examined- 

1891. Eigbty dives ; chully, red coral, pinna, six live oysters from l£ to 2 inches ; 

two live chanks. 
1892—1894. Not examined. 
1895-1896. Bare. 

1897. Same result as No. 50. 

1898. Weed and chullies only. 

1899. Same result as No. 51. 
1900-1903. Not examined. 

53. Surukko" Onpatu Par — 

1885. Six dives ; three oysters of 2 inches, | inch and f inch, respectively ; two kinds 

of sea- weed, tree and long, broad and flat leafed kind. 

1886. 139 oysters from % to 1£ inches in size mixed with some recently dead oysters, 

chully and weed. 

1887. Not examined. 
1888—1894. Not examined. 
1895-1896. Bare. 

* No ; they are distinct banks. — J.H. 


53. Stjbukku Onfatu Par — cont. 

1897. Oysters plentiful l£ to § inch. Very few dead shells • no suran. 

1898. Not examined. 

1899. Oysters 2 to f inch ; 10 to 15 per dive. 
1900-1903. Not examined. 

54. Manapad Peeita Par — 

1885. Blank. 

1886. No oysters ; not a likely place at any time. 

1887. Thirteen dives blank. 
1888—1898. Not examined. 
1899. Bare. 
1900-1903. Not examined. 

55. Kanawa Parakku Sohi Tondu Par — 

1896. Oysters ranging from 2£ to 1 inch ; 3 to a dive. 
1897—1903. Not examined. 

56. Paracherry Pak — 

1885. Nil. 

1886. Several dives. A very few oysters of | inch. A large quantity of empty shells, 

weed, suran, and sponge. 

1887. Thirteen dives ; blank. 
1888—1903. Not examined. 

57. Paeacheeey Pathook, 

58. Axantalai Pathooe. 

59. Manafad Pathoor. 

60. Kir.i Pae. 

61. Perita Talai Seman Terai Pae. 

62. Sesan Pallei Kathu Par. 

63. Kodoo Thalai Par. 

61. ovaree anrhoniar kovil plditta par. 

65. Ovaree Anthoniar Kovil Vellai Vallai Pak — 
1899. Bare. 
1900—1903. Not examined. 



Noa. 1 & II. — Sketch plan9 (Charts A and B) of the Central Pearl Bank region showing graphically the groups 
which I propose to form by the linking together of adjacent and related pars. 

Nos. Ill & 17. — Similar sketch plans (Charts C ani D) showing the manner in which I propose the Pearl Bank region 
should be examined by means of " oirole-inspection ". 

No. V.— Specimen of a Coxswain's inspection diagram, blank. 

No. VI. — Specimen of the same filled up at the end of a day's work. 

No. VII. — An example of one of the Inspector's master.diagrams filled up by combining the four diagrams 
famished by the inspection coxswainB. 

So. VIII. — Skeleton diagram showing the sab-division of a large bank (Cheval Par, Ceylon) into culture blocks. 

J^o. TX. — Sketch-plan showing how the Skeleton plan No. VIII Bhould be filled in after inspection has been 
completed, the distribution of oysters of different generations being indicated by distinctive 











(a). The position, extent, $ names of the "Pars" 
as given in the present Inspection chart; 
(b). The plan of grouping proposed, whereby 
pars of similar characteristics are 
coalesced into larger divisions. 
The boundaries of the latter are VAIPARQ 

shewn by red lines and to each ^» 

is alKtced an index numeral in v 
red. ^^ 

Incite. — The position of no land maris can \) 
be indicated, as none are given in 
the present Inspection charts. 






Copies — 2 DO 



Indicates Paxo 

I>o. Chunk Beds 

Chank bed 

in Par . 

6 ' S \-PeJeia-adu Par 

; Chank bed -J ;%#£'''' 

;| ''•-..'.•PafluttEi. 

•■'\ # 

Marikan Par 

duf ta Marikan 
Tundu Par 

Vaipar Periya 

VT Pa,: \ 



Arapagara P: 

Irluxian Far 

Chank bed 


01.a,nk bad 

6|-7. ; ifyigara Par 

: ,7i--T7tti Har 
^iDfluruvi P 


Attuvai Arupagem Far", f.-" 

\ Patfc; 

Hhank bed ■ 

g. Kahna Tivu 

' 4 ' :Aru[pagam Par 

, A^toiipatu Far /J 

•• V 

Chank bed 

Tilda Onpatu Bar:.|.- 

Saith Oflpatu Par '-f' 3 t 

': Pali /Pumli Par 

rkupdanjan Far 

:Kenj>iricJiohan Par 

.-jMeJa Oupatu Par 

• - • XIV 

\ : 7j r -dfcjK,znm, Pali Pundi Par 






; Tolsyirarn Par ./ 



Ziaeo., Survey Office, Madras 




R. Tambrapami 

Chart B 



■ Chank bed; i 
Sandamaram Piditta ,Par '?.f?£ 

Seltan Par 

Bajavnkku Sippi gotichoha I 

Kudamutta P/r 

Saith ICudamtittu 


a Pat 

uraiya Pattu 

"/a" ■. Sattukur&iya, 
■'/ Pattu Pat 




err?-, KadiaaxPar 

Kanawa Par '■?% s - 


ajai PiditU Par 

.••8£*'Eeriya Mala! Piditta Par 
-•»' siKarai Karuwal Par 



Cl 7 Pagoda 


Chodi Par '.,a£--9 

Chank bed 


j'^'-tf/Velangu Karuwal Pa? 

?i' 8 z Oda Karai Par 

Tundu Par'-p-iLi. 


Chauk bod 



of iAe 

Southern half of the Central Division 

of the 

Showing -. 

(a). The position, extent, fy names of the Pars 
as given in the present Inspection chart. 

(b). The flan of grouping now proposed, whereby u Pars'' 
of similar characteristics are coalesced into larger 
divisions. The boundaries of the latter are shewn 
~by red lines, and to each is affixed an, mdeic 

— 'numeral in red. ~~ 

'%■(%) jjuntoddam PJr 

acoil Piditta Par 

Indicates Para'' 

" Chank Bads 


/ S± - / falhcmo 
Manapz/l Pariya Par 

(Signed) JAM.ES H.OBNBIA, 



([10 East Longitude 

R«sg. No. 8587 

Co ..-.% — Zt - 

78 20 

Zinco., Survey Office, Madjas 


78 ! 

: I 

7# 20' 


of the INDIAN PEARL BANKS, Showing: 
(a). The pearl Bank areas simplified as proposed in Chart A. 
Thetr extent is indicated by blue tinting; 
the proposed name^iT'affixed to each, 
(b). The manner whereby exhaustive 

examination can be effected in VAIPAR 

l&"ijispection-circles" . These 
are bounded by red lines and 

are numbe red co nsecutively. 

Small numbers in black indicate 
depth in fathoms. 


XU , : Chant bed. 
Kanua Tivu Par. ' 


Puli Fundi Par 

Chart C. 


Neajurichciiau Par. 






Zinco., Survey Office, Madias 


Outer Kudamuttu 


Kanapad Far 

(a). The pearl bank areas simplified 

as proposed in chart B. 

-~p MANAPAD Their extent is indicated by blue tinting; '-. 



the proposed name is affixed to each. 
(b). The manner whereby exhaustive examination 
can be secured in 17 "inspection-circles" 
lhese are bounded by red lines, and numbered 
consecutively from 19 to 35. 

Note; — Small figures in black indicate the depth in fathoms. 


7 34 











Manapad Periya Par 



Beg. If 8589 
Copio. 200 

7ij| lfi East Longitude. 



Zinco., Survey Office, Madras 


Specimen of a Coxswain's 

Inspection Diagram 

before use. 


JVo. of Boat 



Numbers above the line indicate Old Oysters. 

,, below ,, „ Youug Oysters. 

A. indicates flat rock. 
X „ Oysters too young to count. 


a. sandy bottom. 

Rog Sc 8590 
Ccpies -200 

Photo-Zinco., Surrey Oflaos, Madras. 

No, of dives on Old Oysters 

do Young Oysters. 

do bare rock 

da bare sand 

Total dives 

No. of square yards 

No. of Oysters 

No. of Oysters to a dive. 



-Mvd/ iV&st/ Cti&vcU/ par 

J/o. of Boat. 4- 


Date' 25' fet* recall/, Ig01+ 



dumber* aboise> the* U*i&- uudicale- 0U£ Ou£teys. 
beloi*/ „ „ ,, Yourtq Ou4ter£ 

& indicated J 'Lai- roc&/. 

x Ousters tao uouna to couyU> 

maUi & 

* 6 -C J/* ,ji./e. 

Reg. llo. 859] 
G.pieS - 200 

Fnoto-Zincj.; Survey Oflic-e, Madras. 

Date 27th. and 23th February 1904. 

Bearings of landmarks from centre are:- 

N. W. Cheval Par 

Karativu Pile Beacon , S.arE. 
Kirtiramalai Trigonometrical Tower 
Kellar Beacon, S.72|°E. 





24.7l / a»ii'er^ iMscLazU; Old- Oysters 

iz. .Nicynbess tytctu^xto Yauuvta Oysters 

X l*uLu^iL&& Oysters too you.itj Co cau.t^t. 
A LtuUcate Ou^ ike, 6*6low ts Jtat rocJc\ ^ ^ ^^ ^ „ u ^^ 
cc sajyidy bottoms j 

Upon, £ecJc when* Ui&Jiyu.res stand, alanui- 
Upon Sa.nd- whcti* C0ttLuin£d, h/UAlw a ccrcZ£^- 


Beg.. 9o. 8592 
- 200 


Fhoto-Zinco., Survey Office, Madras 


Per Lisas JPa*-'-. 

Plan of the 


To Must rate, t/i& 
proposed sgsiertv of 
SLcbcliisi-6 con- into culture* 
cur ecus. 

tke^ bou,nxiaries of tsut; franks 
<zs j/tj/esu lh/ CcLp£*j.-ct%/ 


s$ccU&.-Orve< trvcJv toasnxxu&caLMtle> 

JO t 04. 

1 \ ■** 

Beacom \r 

Ni?riJv Mdcuircujajri' 

/youths Moci^ra^ajr\/ 

*****■.. .J.. 

£. 6 Al? /2f?„ 

Reg No. 8593 
Cori»* - 200 

Photo- 7/iuco., Survey Office, Madras 


Periya Par Karai 

Sketch Plan 
of the 


Showing' the distribution of Pearl 
Oysters in February 1904, 

The areas shaded red represent 
the extent of ground occupied 
by fishable oysters 4J to 4f 
years old ; those shaded in 
blue, the distribution of imm- 
ature oysters about 2\ years 
of age. 

Scale-One Inch to a Nautical mile 


North Moderagam 

Beg. No. 8o&4 
Copies — 200 

Zinco., Survey Office, Madras 


3 TOflfl 0D3D712t> 3 

nhanih qSH377 I4H8 
Report ot the government ol Madras on tn